211 Cost-Benefit Model Detail

APPENDIX: 211 Cost/Benefit Model Detail

The detail in this appendix section supports the costs and benefits dollar figures described within the report. All of the data and information comes from a 211 Cost/Benefit Analysis researched and completed by the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at the University of Texas at Austin. The report is the "National Benefit/Cost Analysis of Three Digit-Accessed Telephone Information and Referral Services", December 2004. http://www.211.org/documents/costbenefitanalysis.pdf


Cost Estimate Calculations

Cost per call and anticipated call volume form the basis of the total national cost estimate.

Costs are totaled from:

1. Cost per call associated with each site

2. Cost per call associated with each model

3. Total costs under four national cost estimation approaches

A unit cost for each model was calculated by aggregating call volume and total costs for the sites that represent each model. Estimated costs for each model include all operating expenses for a call center.National call volume multiplied by the cost per call provides the national cost estimate.

There were three primary perspectives used for analyzing both benefits and costs in the Cost Benefit Analysis conducted at the University of Texas at Austin.

1. Participants, include individuals and families, employers, and local information and referral centers, as well as health and human services providers;

2. Taxpayers (or government), are primarily state and local public funds, but including federal, as well; and

3. Society as a whole is simply the sum of participants and taxpayers, net of any taxes and/or transfers between them.

Cost by Perspectives

Participants incur costs burdened by all non-profit entities that operate the 2-1-1 call centers and organizations that contract with them and the donors who support them.

Taxpayers incur costs through public contracts, grants, and investments, as well as direct services that the public sector provides to the 2-1-1 network.

Society incurs the sum of costs burdened by participants and taxpayers net any taxes or transfers between them.


Benefits were estimated by modeling anticipated national call volumes as a function of call volume to population rates in more mature 211 sites which included the following cities and states, Hawaii, Connecticut, Houston, TX, Minnesota, Salt Lake City, Utah, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Grand Rapids, MI, Atlanta, GA, Sioux Falls, SD, and Jacksonville, FL. The major assumption for the model was that the penetration rate would be equivalent in a fully operational national 2-1-1 network.

Beneficiaries by Category

1) Participants/Individuals & Families: Value of Time Saved Value of Tax Assistance, Value of Taxes Recovered, Value of 24/7 Access

2) Organizations: Volunteer recruitment, Value of 24/7 Access, Participants Subtotal, Taxpayers

3) Planning and Management: Misdirected calls (time saved), Certification Readiness, Value of 24/7 Access, Eliminated I&R Duplication, Non-Reimbursed Services, 911 Redirection Benefit

Net Value

Net Value is the difference between costs and benefits and is the preferred evaluation for policy makers. All models except for the decentralized model create a positive net value and therefore a positive Cost/Benefit ratio (a ratio greater than 1).