New coalition pushes for greater price transparency

A coalition that includes lobbies for senior citizens, consumers and ambulatory surgical centers has teamed with Aetna and Novo Nordisk to push for greater price transparency.

The coalition, which calls itself Clear Choices, wants providers to reveal more upfront pricing and quality data, as well as more information about benefits and formularies from carriers that offer coverage through the insurance exchanges.

"Our members come from all sides of the political debate," said Clear Choices President Joel White in a statement. "But we all agree that consumers should have access to affordable healthcare--and that transparency will enhance choice and competition to make healthcare more affordable."

Moreover, the coalition also wants consumers to rate physicians and providers without fear of retaliation, as well as obtain all potential financial connections that might pose conflicts of interest in how providers handle their care.

"It's like TripAdvisor. You've got to take it all with a grain of salt, but this is the world we live in now, and consumers want this information," Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, told the Washington Times.

To that end, Aetna unveiled a new online tool that allows enrollees to simulate a claim and get a better understanding of their costs for a specific procedure.

The coalition was launched at a time when patients still have little concrete price information for the care they receive, even as their out-of-pocket costs continue to rise dramatically. Most states have received failing grades for the price transparency tools that are available to patients.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Times article 
- check out the Clear Choices statement