Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare have announced that it will work with the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to develop and provide healthcare price transparency tools for consumers. The online tool will be administered in an information portal created by HCCI, which is expected to be available in early 2015. The health benefit companies will provide information on health care costs to HCCI, which will maintain and manage access to the information in a highly secure, protected environment.
Additional insurance carriers are expected to participate in the near future and may 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 health care.
How It Works
The new HCCI price transparency will aggregate pricing data from commercial health plans, as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans, if the states agree. The information will be available to consumers, purchasers, regulators and payers in an accessible, comparable and easy-to-use format. Key benefits for this tool include:
- 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.
Official estimates project that U.S. health spending will reach $4.7 trillion by the end of the decade – an 80 percent increase from $2.6 trillion in 2010 – underlining the need to better understand the prices of health care services to help make decisions and choices about purchasing care.