App arrives to help consumers compare healthcare costs

A new mobile app provides users with the average cost of care in their area.

There seems to be a mobile app for everything these days, from turning on the lights in your home to helping you decide what new restaurant to try. It may only be logical that now there is now a new app to help consumers lower their cost of medical care.

UnitedHealthcare has released a new free app that allows users to compare nearby medical services, called Health4Me. The app is available on both Andriod and iOS devices, and is intended to increase the transparency of the cost of medical care, and help patients become better prepared for any potential financial burden.

The rising popularity of insurance plans with high premiums have left many care facilities struggling with accounts receivable management. UnitedHealthcare hopes that the new app will help relieve some of the burden of bad debt on these facilities.

"Giving consumers access to important medical cost information is improving transparency and making it easier for people to navigate the health care system," Yasmine Winkler, UnitedHealthcare's chief product, marketing and innovation officer, stated in a press release.

So far, the app provides average prices for more than 520 medical services, based on local averages. UnitedHealthcare reports that the app has already been used by more than 900,000 of its members. 

Health care cost transparency has become a hot-button issue for many patient advocacy groups, who claim that the significant differences in prices for treatments and procedures at different facilities is unfair to consumers. 

If your hospital or fair facility is struggling with health insurance claims follow-up as a result of patients being unprepared for the cost of care, outsourcing receivables management could help to increase cash flow and cause a decrease in the dollars released to bad debt write off.