Evidence of disparate health outcomes by race and ethnicity (R/E), exposed most recently by the COVID-19 crisis, has spurred momentum to reduce health inequities and highlighted health plans’ and other organizations’ need for access to high-quality R/E data as a step toward advancing health equity (AHA 2020; Grantmakers In Health 2021; McAvey and Reginal 2021; National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems et al. 2021). Despite being acknowledged as a limitation for decades, R/E data remain incomplete and inconsistent and are not able to be easily shared across different entities in the health care sector, making it difficult to identify and track health inequities and to evaluate efforts to reduce them. This report is based on a literature review on the status of health plans' R/E data collection and perceived and actual barriers to collecting these data, more than 50 expert interviews, informal surveys conducted by the Deloitte Health Equity Institute and the American Benefits Council, and the Summit on Race and Ethnicity Data Collection for Health Equity that included 27 stakeholders representing multiple sectors including health insurance plans; technology firms; health care providers; employers; community-based organizations; foundations; and advocacy, public health, and research organizations. We assessed stakeholders’ suggestions for how to improve the collection of R/E data for use by health plans and identified high-priority next steps.
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