Three of the largest commercial health insurance companies in the US will be sharing price data to provide consumers with a "transparent and comprehensive destination to make more informed choices about health care," according to the creator of a new online database.
UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Humana announced that they will partner with the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to create an information portal that will aggregate pricing data from those companies as well as from Medicare Advantage and Medicaid plans where permitted by state law. According to a press release from HCCI, the database will be operational by 2015, and will likely include data from additional insurance companies that are expected to sign on to the program between now and then.
A recent Forbes magazine article reports that the system will provide "three tiers" of information: 1 containing average price information for an episode of care, available to any consumer; another more detailed set of data available to customers of the participating companies; and a third even more in-depth compilation available to employers.
"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," said HCCI Executive Director David Newman in the press release.
Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA vice president of public policy, practice, and professional affairs believes the data release is great news not just for consumers, but for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs).
“Access to data is critical in this new era of health care, and APTA applauds the leadership of 3 major insurers in beginning the process toward improved transparency," Moore said. "We believe this kind of information will empower consumers in their selection of health care services and providers, and has the potential to demonstrate the value physical therapy provides our health care system every day."
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