Three large health plans join forces to advance health care price transparency

A partnership was announced Wednesday between insurers UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana and the Health Care Cost Institute to create a payment database that will be available at no cost to the public.

Bloomberg News: UnitedHealth Leads Plan To Reveal Health Prices To Consumers
The effort, announced today and organized by a nonprofit called the Health Care Cost Institute, builds on steps the Obama administration has taken to shed light on prices charged by health-care providers. Medicare, the program for the elderly and disabled, released databases in 2013 and this year that revealed what it paid hospitals and physicians, over the objections of both industries. The new initiative is more constrained, offering consumers a "reference price" for health services in their communities, based on aggregated data from insurers, said David Newman, the executive director of the Washington-based institute. Customers of the insurers will get more precise information about prices, including how much they'll have to pay out of pocket (Wayne, 5/14).

Modern Healthcare:  Health Insurance Giants To Make Payment Data Accessible To Public
A new initiative by three of the country's largest health plans has the potential to transform the accessibility of claims payment data, according to healthcare finance experts. UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana announced a partnership on Wednesday with the Health Care Cost Institute to create a payment database that will be available to the public for free.  "The potential is enormous," said Katherine Hempstead, a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It's just a tremendous public service." The database will be created by HCCI, a not-for-profit group established in 2011, from information provided by the insurers. HCCI expects it to be available in 2015 and that more health plans will join the initiative prior to its launch (Demko, 5/14).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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