Navigating the Health Care System

Through changes in employer benefit packages, employees and dependents are becoming more aware of the high cost of health care services. The U.S. Government predicts that consumer out-of-pocket costs will reach $3,301 per household by 2014. [1] This is in addition to health insurance premiums. And with the movement of many employers towards consumer-directed health plans (e.g. HSAs, HRAs) – which places even more cost responsibility on the consumer – individuals need to become more active participants in their health care since they will be bearing a larger portion of the cost burden.

How can employers help employees and dependents navigate the health care system to find the most effective value-based care?  This section will lead you to resources and tools from reliable sources that you can share with your employees and their families to help them become smarter, more informed health care consumers.


Websites developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) designed to help employers and consumers:

  • Effective Health Care Program—Comprehensive research reports and plain-language summaries compare the effectiveness and risks of treatments for common health conditions.
  • Dissemination Strategies—Ideas for how employers can put health information into the hands of employees to help them improve the effectiveness and safety of their health care.
  • Trends and Statistics—Highlights of the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States from the Agency’s popular News and Numbers program.
  • AHRQ websites for consumers