California launches price comparison website but procedure costs remain unclear
California is the latest state to get into the healthcare price transparency game, with one of its regulators launching a healthcare services comparison site in conjunction with Consumer Reports and the University of California at San Francisco.
And while the California Healthcare Compare website contains a lot of data on a variety of procedures, it remains far from being a resource for would-be patients to determine exactly what a procedure will cost them. It only provides out-of-pocket cost estimates for insured patients, and they can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Instead, the site encourages users to visit a variety of other cost-estimate websites run by insurers and other companies.
“The Healthcare Compare website makes it possible for Californians to search for common medical procedures, to get average and a range of prices in their area, and to compare medical providers based on quality measures–before making the important decision about where to seek medical care,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a statement. “This is also a first step toward convincing doctors, hospitals, insurers and legislators of the benefits of sharing more detailed price information to allow consumers faced with high-deductible plans to make better decisions about how to spend their scarce dollars.”
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