Millions of Americans today do not have health insurance, and millions more are subscribed to high-deductible plans. Both groups are commonly asked to pay the cost of medical care upfront before a doctor visit or procedure. Too often, these patients are unable to afford the treatments, as the costs are difficult to anticipate because the total can vary widely depending on the care facility and the patients history.
To combat this trend, The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) announced its intention to begin collaborating with three of the nation's largest health insurance companies, Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare, to develop and make freely available an online tool that will help patients better anticipate and understand the cost of health care services.
The HCCI is a not-for-profit, independent organization that is currently building the tool, or "information portal," that is expected to become available in 2015. The three insurance companies mentioned previously will provide data on treatment and procedure costs, and already more insurance providers have expressed interest in participating.
"Consumers, employers and regulatory agencies will now have a single source of consistent, transparent health care information based on the most reliable data available, including actual costs, which only insurers currently have," David Newman, Executive Director of HCCI wrote in a press release. "Voluntarily making this information available will be of immeasurable value to consumers and other health system participants as they seek to manage the cost and quality of care."
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