Change will make it easier to gain insights into diverse populations’ health challenges and disparities in care
The administration of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro recently announced a change to Pennsylvania Insurance Department policy that will allow life, accident, and health insurers to collect demographic data voluntarily shared by individuals applying for coverage. Independence Blue Cross (IBX) was the first and one of the only health insurers in the state to advocate for this change.
IBX has intentionally focused and invested in gaining a comprehensive understanding of health care disparities, their root causes, and our ability to eliminate them moving forward. The collection of demographic data voluntarily shared by applicants represents a critical step toward achieving these goals. It provides insurers with a useful tool in gaining valuable insight into diverse populations’ unique health challenges as well as disparities in care.
“Collecting demographic data is vital in measuring and managing disparities in society. By gathering accurate data, we can identify and understand the extent of disparities, and implement effective solutions to eliminate them,” said Ravi Chawla, chief analytics officer at Independence Blue Cross.
The policy update also aligns with IBX’s longstanding commitment to supporting equitable healthcare solutions for all members. By collecting demographic data from those who choose to share it, the company can better tailor services to meet the specific needs of different communities. In turn, this enhances the ability to address health disparities and ensure that members receive personalized, high-quality care.
The PID’s approach strikes a crucial balance between the need to gather additional demographic information while respecting the people’s autonomy over their personal information – a principle that resonates with IBX’s commitment to strict adherence to privacy and security laws governing personal health information, and the ethical and responsible handling of personal health data.