Why a Kelly Blue Book for Healthcare Won’t Keep Us Safe

Kelly Blue Book recently issued its list of 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000. We could, for instance, buy a 2015 Fiat 500 for an average purchase price of $17,435, a Hyundai Veloster for an average of $17,799, a Volkswagen Golf for $17,474 or a Jeep Renegade for $17,984.


Or, for an average price of $17,545, we could buy an annual family health plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey. But we are unlikely to find an independently generated article entitled, “10 Coolest Health Plans for under $18,000”.


Consumer advocates have long lamented, “Why is there no Kelly Blue Book for healthcare?”. After all, if we could compare individual health plans easily, it should lead to better care, right?


Not so fast.


Let’s get back to the cars. If we want to buy the most efficient car, the Fiat performs best, with 40 highway miles to the gallon, and the Jeep performs worst, with 31 highway miles to the gallon. But what if our priority is safety – as it must be with healthcare? Well, both the Hyundai and the Volkswagen got a five-star safety crash rating, while both the Fiat and Jeep were awarded four stars.

So we decide to buy the Volkswagen or the Hyundai. Six months down the road, hypothetically, let’s say there are 50 cases of our car model flipping over, killing its occupants. Kelly Blue Book would have to adjust their safety ratings downward to reflect this real world experience. But that doesn’t help those 50 families who lost loved ones in those crashes. Because that is not the role of Kelly Blue Book.


Transparency offers convenience, but it doesn’t save lives.


Just think, what if the only consequence for the makers of that dangerous car was a downgrade in Kelly Blue Book? Consumers would be incensed. But of course that’s not the case. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has the power to issue recalls, taking cars off the road if they display a pattern of harming people.


In healthcare we need more action, not more information, to improve safety. But when is the last time the Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid shut down a hospital or doctor’s office for unsafe care? It doesn’t happen.

The solution is private sector approaches to first separate the high safety providers and hospitals from the poor ones, offering transparency. But then we need to go one step further to protect patients from low quality care that could endanger their health or their lives.


Here at Imagine Health, we don’t offer employers a Kelly Blue Book of healthcare. Instead, like the NHTSA, we issue recalls to providers and healthcare facilities that don’t meet our stringent safety and efficiency standards. We provide employers with only the best hospitals and providers, and we assess them semi-annually on real world safety data.


The result is a customized, high-performance healthcare network that is focused on keeping workers safe, and offering efficiency to employers footing the majority of that $17,545 sticker price for a family’s healthcare.


We know that employers have a duty to protect their most important assets; their employees.  If you are searching for the highest quality healthcare for your employees, at the most affordable price, look no further than Imagine Health.  Make sure you are putting those that matter most to you in a plan that could in fact save their life.

Rick AbbottComment