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Anthem Blue Cross Introduces Comprehensive Medical Cost Comparison Tool

Armen Hareyan's picture

Medical Cost Comparison Tool

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana announced a new online tool that will enable hundreds of thousands of Central Indiana Anthem consumers to understand the cost of the medical care they receive for common procedures such as knee replacement, maternity services and tonsillectomy.

The Anthem Care Comparison tool, at http://www.anthem.com, provides complete facility-specific medical care cost estimates so that consumers will have a better idea of the costs they will incur before medical services have been provided.

For nearly 40 of the most common medical procedures, Anthem members from Logansport to Bedford and from Terre Haute to Richmond, will now have access to information for an entire episode of care -- not just the procedure itself, but also lab work, anesthesia, recovery room charges and other services related to the procedure. The estimated costs can be compared at all hospitals in a geographical area. The result is a more accurate picture of the total cost associated with a given procedure.

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"The goal of the Anthem Care Comparison tool is to arm members with as much information as possible to help them to make decisions that could have an impact on their health and on the price they pay for health care," said David Lee, M.D., vice president of health care management for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana.

The Anthem Care Comparison tool was first introduced in September 2006 in Dayton, Ohio. Since then, an online survey has shown that more than 90% of Anthem Care Comparison users found the tool to be valuable, with 84% saying it increased their ability to make good decisions regarding where to have a medical service performed.

"As consumer driven health plans transform our health care system, more cost and quality data are essential in order for consumers to make financially wise health care decisions that will also improve their health," said Dennis Casey, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana.

Consumers were involved in the development of Anthem Care Comparison, providing input on the methodology, program and Web site to ensure that the information is useful, customer-friendly and presented in an easy-to-use format.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of a subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc.