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Blue Plans to Share WellPoint’s Cost Comparison Capability

The Care Comparison tool will extend facility-specific information for 35 specific medical procedures performed at more than 2,800 locations, to over 48 million health plan members.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, have announced plans to collaborate to provide access to WellPoint's cost comparison tool, which a WellPoint press release describes as an online, consumer-friendly health care cost information tool. Dubbed Care Comparison for purposes of use by the Blue plans, the tool will extend access to cost information to over 48 million members. ' Using Care Comparison, the above named Blue companies will provide the total estimated cost ranges associated with approximately 35 specific medical procedures performed at more than 2,800 local hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, free-standing radiology facilities or other medical facilities, according to the WellPoint source. The estimated cost ranges provided through Care Comparison are based on combining related services typically performed at each facility at the time of the procedure, not just the procedure itself, according to WellPoint. In addition, the cost ranges are facility-specific so members can compare the differences in cost between area facilities. Ranges of health care cost information will initially be rolled out on a limited basis in each of these states, WellPoint says. ' "We developed this transparency tool in 2006 for use by members in our health plans, with the goal of creating well-informed consumers of health care," says Angela Braly, WellPoint's president and CEO. "We are pleased to be working with other Blue companies so that even more members can have access to clear, concise health cost information in major cities across the country."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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