BCBSNC to Enable North Carolina Consumers to Compare Cost of More Than 1,200 Medical Procedures

Lack of Cost Transparency Costs US Consumers Billions Each Year

LTC

 

  • Information will be available to all consumers – including those who are not BCBSNC customers.
  • Easily searchable database includes cost of more than 1,200 non-emergency procedures and providers statewide, representing more than 80 percent of all non-emergency health care costs.
  • Information available at bcbsnc.com/healthcarecost

 

 

 

Chapel Hill, N.C. – The lack of transparency in health care prices drives up the cost of care by more than $100 billion each year in the U.S.[i]  As a way to tackle the problem, BCBSNC is bringing more transparency to health care by making available to all consumers information they need to comparison shop based on cost and quality.

“We’re working to take the mystery out of health care by providing cost information about more than 1,200 procedures,” said BCBSNC President and CEO Brad Wilson. “This information will help consumers get more bang for their health care buck.”

BCBSNC originally provided an online health care cost and quality shopping tool for its customers in 2012. The new tool triples the number of procedures consumers can explore and makes this information available to everyone in North Carolina – whether they have BCBSNC coverage or not.

By using BCBSNC’s new tool, consumers can easily compare the cost of common procedures – an important factor in ensuring they get the best value for their health care dollar. For example, the amount a customer might pay for a knee replacement in the Triangle can vary by nearly $15,000 depending on which hospital the customer chooses.

“Many consumers believe that the highest cost facility is the highest quality facility, but that’s often not the case,” said BCBSNC Chief Medical Officer Susan Weaver, M.D. “We know that our customers want the highest quality health care, but like any purchase they make, they don’t want to pay more than they have to. Our tool allows them to make informed decisions about health care just as they would any other major purchase.”

BCBSNC’s new public tool, available at bcbsnc.com/healthcarecost, enables consumers to compare cost of common health care procedures at hospitals and other health care providers based on BCBSNC’s broad-network Blue Advantage plan and its narrow-network Blue Value plan.

BCBSNC customers can access a more specialized tool through Blue Connect, the company’s new customer portal. The customer tool includes quality information as well as more specialized cost estimates based on a customer’s specific health plan.

Making cost data widely available is BCBSNC’s latest effort to make health care as consumer-friendly as possible. Other examples include:

  • Putting medical policies online (2000)
  • Building a mobile app for prescription drug and urgent care search (2010)
  • Launching LetsTalkCost, a campaign to highlight causes of rising health care costs (2010)
  • Offering a cost comparison tool for customers (2012)
  • Opening retail stores (2013)

About BCBSNC:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.84 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

 

###