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Insurers and Provider Organizations Join Healthcare Cost and Quality Transparency Initiative

September 4, 2014
by John DeGaspari
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Group will collaborate on online tools for consumers focused healthcare quality and cost transparency

The Washington-based Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), a not-for-profit organization formed in 2011, has announced that Assurant Health has joined three other health insurance companies—Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare—to collaborate on the development of free online tools that will offer consumers comprehensive information about the price and quality of healthcare services.

In addition, according to HCCI, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) will join a committee charged with identifying quality metrics and data that will be incorporated into the tools. The committee includes the chief medical officers from each of the participating health plans.

Further, Harvard Pilgram Health Care, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and Partners HealthCare are participating to develop consumer transparency and public reporting standards for capitated, integrated, and value-based health plan designs. HCCI says it will use these recommendations to guide future development of its healthcare cost and quality transparency initiative and to develop standards for public reporting by state all-payer claims databases.

In May, HCCI announced that it would create and administer an information portal that will provide consumers, employers and regulators comprehensive information about the price and quality of healthcare. In July, it announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) granted it access to the Medicare fee-for-service data set as CMS’ only national qualified entity. HCCI said it expects the new transparency tools to be available in early 2015 and will maintain and manage access to the information in a secure environment.

HCCI says the tools will aggregate data from commercial health plans with the intention of linking to the data from Medicare advantage and Medicaid health plans. Price data includes the allowed amount paid by the insurer plus copays and deductibles. The cost data will be supplemented with data on quality. The information will be available to consumers, purchasers, regulators and payers.

 

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