New HCCI health portal to enhance transparency for health plan buyers
With reports that national healthcare spending will continue to rise (estimates project costs to reach 4.7 trillion by 2020), it’s more important than ever that consumers have access to reliable and informative data about the prices and the quality of their health care options. Fortunately, regulators and insurers are stepping up to the plate to ensure that happens.
Last month, the the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) announced it will partner with Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare to develop an online portal for consumers to use that will offer the latest information and accurate pricing about health care services. HCCI, a non-profit, non-partisan group dedicated to providing independent research and analysis on the causes behind U.S. health care spending, said the new program is designed to promote cost transparency and solutions for consumers to help them make more informed decisions about their health care. Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare will provide cost information to HCCI, which will administer the portal, and is expected to launch in early 2015. The organization says it expects additional health insurance carriers to participate after the program is rolled out.
With reports showing that national health care rates have jumped three times as fast as wages, Americans deserve as much information as possible when choosing their care. The HCCI platform can assist them during that process by comparing aggregate pricing from various commercial plans, as well as from Medicare Advantage and Medicaid in the future. The data not only helps the insured, but also promotes reliable data for uninsured Americans shopping for coverage. The portal outlines different plan options to help determine the relative prices of care, treatment and procedures in an easy-to- use format. The new tool benefits other groups as well. Employers can expect more engagement from employees using the portal to better understand and manage their health care costs, while providers will be able to measure their prices and services against other providers. Finally, the information on the site offers regulators with a single source of data to support market studies and gain better insight when making geographic rate adjustments and other public policy decisions regarding health care.
HCCI says consumers can expect additional features to be incorporated into the platform after its launch, including adding data from fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid care as it becomes available, as well as more in-depth comparison tools.
About the Author
Alyssa Martin is a Vice President at William Gallagher Associates providing proactive service, effective decision-making and advanced problem-solving capabilities to a number of national clients in the mid-sized to large markets. She also works with key WGA clients to assist their employees with their individual Medicare choices as they are approaching retirement.