Northwest regional BlueCross BlueShield plan Regence (Portland, Ore.) has enhanced its Treatment Cost Estimator at the MyRegence.com member site to give its Oregon plan members access to information about out-of-pocket costs for common procedures and services, as well as the ability to compare those costs at various healthcare providers. The functionality meets the requirement of Oregon House Bill 2213, effective July 1, which requires that health plans provide members with "reasonable, individualize out-of-pocket cost estimates for certain medical services, according to a Regence source.
The original Treatment Cost Estimator was geared toward selected services and procedures, and out-of-pocket costs were available to only a small percentage of Regence members, according to the carrier. The enhancement allows all Oregon-based Regence members to find out their out-of-pocket costs in a real-time Web-based platform.
"The lack of accurate, comparable information about the cost of medical care is one of the primary drivers of system inefficiency and questions about value," comments Ralph Prows, M.D., senior medical director, Regence. "Without it, patients and their physicians are left ill-informed about the cost impacts of their health care decisions, some of which may be borne by the patients themselves."
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