Can health care price transparency save $100 billion?

Jun 26 2014
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According to recent analysis from the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, providing more information on health care prices could reduce U.S health care spending by an estimated $100 billion over the next decade. While the specific amount of savings could be debated, there is really no argument about the importance of making health care cost and quality information easier to find.

Aetna believes that the health care system should be redesigned around the consumer. Delivering reliable, transparent cost and quality information to consumers is a major part of that process. That is why Aetna recently joined an initiative with the Health Care Cost Institute to give consumers increased access to health care cost information. This initiative is a step in the right direction. The goal is to provide all consumers with access to comprehensive information about the price and quality of health care services.

The savings from the West Health Policy Center analysis are focused on the overall health care system. However, improved health care transparency can help consumers save real money. Aetna’s Member Payment Estimator provides real-time out-of-pocket cost estimates based on a member’s personal benefits plan. Aetna research found that members saved an average of $170 in out-of-pocket costs for 34 common procedures by using the Member Payment Estimator.

Aetna believes that all consumers should have access to reliable, accurate cost and quality information. Providing this information can help people become more engaged in their own health care and help keep costs down by holding the health care system accountable.