The United States has the worst health care system among wealthy nations, according to a recent analysis from the Commonwealth Fund.

The study focused on health systems from 11 wealthy countries, measuring five main aspects:

1. Access to care
2. Care process
3. Administrative efficiency
4. Equity
5. Health care outcomes

The U.S. health system ranked last in all categories except “care process,” in which it placed second. Norway, the Netherlands and Australia were the top-ranked countries.

“The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care.”
– Excerpt from the Commonwealth Fund report

According to the report, there are four features that distinguish the top-performing countries from the United States:

1. They provide for universal coverage and remove cost barriers.
2. They invest in primary care systems to ensure that high-value services are equitably available in all communities to everyone.
3. They reduce administrative burdens that divert time, efforts and spending from health improvement efforts.
4. They invest in social services, especially for children and working-age adults.

What’s Next?

Among other challenges, the U.S. health care system can both be confusing to navigate and difficult to afford. Despite increased health care spending each year, these and other problems persist. Critics of the current health system argue this will be the case until major reforms take place.

Since meaningful changes to the system aren’t expected anytime soon, quality employer-sponsored coverage is more critical than ever. Employers have the capability to help employees overcome the deficiencies of the U.S. health system with inclusive, well-rounded offerings.

The five criteria mentioned in the study may help employers focus their efforts when reviewing or revising their own health plans. For instance, it’s important for all employees to have access to in-network health care.

Reach out to HR&P for materials to help employees make the most of their employer-sponsored health plans.

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