High-Performing Physicians Can Save Consumers Over $700 Billion in Health Care Costs

March 05, 2019

A new UnitedHealth Group report reveals that expanding access to high-value physicians who deliver quality care at lower costs could drive significant health care system savings. The report reflects UnitedHealth Group’s focus on achieving better health outcomes, lower costs, and better experiences for those we serve.

Following are highlights from the report:

  • The health care system could save $710 billion over 10 years, including $57 billion in 2019, if all the U.S. physicians caring for commercially-insured patients and meeting established quality criteria were to also meet established cost-efficiency criteria.

  • “High-value” physicians treating UnitedHealthcare’s commercial members and meeting both quality and cost-efficiency criteria saved 7.1 percent ($464) per-patient or per-episode in 2017 compared to other physicians.

  • Patients seeing high-value physicians for more than 75 percent of their care had 28 percent fewer emergency department visits.

  • 71 percent ($507 billion) of the total projected savings over the next decade would come from improving the cost-efficiency of primary care physicians who already meet quality criteria.

High-value physicians are designated as Premium Care physicians in UnitedHealthcare’s provider directories. The UnitedHealth Premium© Program assesses quality using national standardized measures from independent quality-assessment organizations such as the National Quality Forum (NQF) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Cost-efficiency measures are based on local market benchmarks for cost-efficient use of resources and referral patterns in providing care.