Plans foster greater price transparency for consumers with online tool

May 14, 2014

Will offer comprehensive information about the price and quality of healthcare services

The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) will work with Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare, to develop and provide consumers free access to an online tool that will offer consumers comprehensive information about the price and quality of healthcare services.

The new transparency tool that HCCI is developing will aggregate pricing data from commercial health plans, as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans, if the states agree, says David Newman, executive director, HCCI. HCCI will create and administer this information portal, which is expected to be available in early 2015.

“The information will be available to consumers, purchasers, regulators and payers in an accessible, comparable and easy-to-use format. HCCI expects the transparency platform will continue to be refined in subsequent releases after its introduction,” says Newman. “For example, future updates of the tool are expected to include more comparison features and, in the longer term, data from fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid programs, as and when it becomes available.”

The health plans will provide information on healthcare costs to HCCI.

Other major carriers have expressed interest and HCCI expects additional carriers to participate in the near future and be part of the initial release in early 2015. Participating insurers will continue to offer their own cost transparency tools and solutions as well. The cost data will be supplemented with quality and other information to provide consumers a transparent and comprehensive destination to make more informed decisions about healthcare.

  • For consumers, this will provide consistent and accurate transparency in the shopping experience with the most comprehensive cost data and quality information; uninsured individuals can access more reliable information about the relative prices of care, treatments and procedures;

  • For employers, this will foster more employee engagement in managing health care costs regardless of payer, health plan or plan design. This will provide a seamless experience regardless of payer;

  • For care providers, this provides timely and accurate information about costs and quality and allows them to see information on other providers as well;

  • For regulators, this provides a single source of information to support market studies, including evaluation of market efficiency and accurate review of cost drivers. This will help inform geographic rate adjustments and provide guidance for addressing important public policy issues;

  • For payers, this provides the most accurate and timely data to meet customer needs and protects proprietary data while allowing customers access to multi-payer information.