Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Introduces New Health Care Quality and Cost Comparison Online Tool

New tool helps members make better decisions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Knowing and understanding the cost of a medical procedure before it takes place helps people to be more than health care users - it helps them become informed health care consumers, says Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF).

BCBSF has unveiled 'Know Before You Go' an online tool which helps consumers make better decisions about their health care needs – via the company's interactive Web site – MyBlueService.  This new online tool shows members, real-time, what their out-of-pocket costs would be for common procedures and services. "Know Before You Go" is designed to help members build a better understanding of how their benefits work before they visit their doctor, imaging facility or hospital.

"Our new 'Know Before You Go' online tool increases member understanding and participation during health care decision making, by providing key information to help members make informed decisions," said Tina Cummings, senior director, business development for BCBSF. "This new health tool gives our members better information to help them shop for health services, save money, and know what to expect financially before services are received."

As a leader in Florida's health care industry, BCBSF is focused on becoming a health solutions company by providing consumers better products and services they need via their channel of choice.

Using the BCBSF provider directory and the member's plan benefits, 'Know Before You Go' will display a real-time estimate of expected costs for many common office procedures and imaging services. The tool also provides the ability to compare up to five providers in a single transaction, helping members compare health care costs and quality indicators associated with certain health providers.  The estimates are specific to each member's contract and will give an estimated out-of-pocket cost for each service, unique to each member—based on where the members are in their plan deductible.  Members can also compare overall costs for many surgeries and other outpatient procedures.

Harris Interactive recently surveyed more than 1,000 adults on "the growing influence and use of health care information obtained online."  The Harris Poll found that 74 percent of all adults have gone online at some point and time to look for health information.  This verifies that the internet is a valued source of health care and medical information and many stakeholder groups are working to ensure they are providing the public with relevant, user-friendly and reliable information.

"BCBSF believes that informed members make better decisions and are more likely to be active participants in managing their own health care," Cummings said.

To find out more information, BCBSF members may visit MyBlueService at www.bcbsfl.com/.  

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) is a leader in Florida's health industry. Since 1944, the company has been dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of all those it serves by offering an array of choices. BCBSF is a not-for-profit, policyholder-owned, tax-paying mutual company. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., BCBSF is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information concerning BCBSF, please see its website at www.bcbsfl.com.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

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