The Health Care Cost Institute, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C., launched a consumer-focused website that lists pricing information for common health conditions and services using claims data from multiple payers.
The website, Guroo, will provide information on the cost and quality of healthcare services, such childbirth, knee pain, an MRI or a physician office visit, nationally and locally. It draws on the data of 40 million insured individuals, from Aetna, Assurant Health, Humana and UnitedHealthcare, as well as others. HCCI is asking more payers to be involved. It will be free to use for consumers.
“For many consumers, shopping for health care doesn’t feel like an option - it’s simply too complicated. Guroo intends to change this by showing consumers they can shop for health care and elect where they spend their health care dollars,” David Newman, executive director of HCCI, said in a statement. “With rising prices and more consumers enrolled in high-deductible health plans, consumers are eager to get the best value out of every dollar they spend on health care.”
The transparency movement has made significant gains in the past few years, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released Medicare hospital charge data and many other payers following suit. There is still considerable debate as to its effectiveness in reducing costs and improving care.
HCCI is hoping to add more quality information, a Spanish-language version and prescription costs to the tool in the coming year. It also will look to work with states engaged in all payer claims databases (APCD) initiatives as they work to provide price and quality transparency information.