Blue plans in five states join to share healthcare cost info

A group of five large Blue plans have come together to share healthcare cost data and allow their 48 million beneficiaries to compare costs between providers. Participants include WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Healthcare Service Corp., which operates BCBS plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The group will offer their members access to WellPoint's online cost comparison tool, which provides the total estimated cost ranges for about 35 medical procedures performed at more than 2,800 local hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, free-standing radiology facilities and other medical centers.

Cost ranges provided by the tool are calculated by combining related services usually performed at a facility at the time of the procedure, not just the procedure. The cost ranges include facility-specific quotes.

Eventually, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association expects to roll out the tool, Care Comparison, to all Blue plans.

To learn more about the cost comparison program:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece

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Consumers reluctant to use outcomes, cost data

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