In my opinion, the single most important factor in the ever increasing cost of medical care is clients’ inability to obtain competitive pricing for medical treatments and their lack of knowledge/confidence in choosing the best option. Is the knee MRI offered by one provider for $297 really as good as the same test offered by someone else at $1261?
According to an article published November 2, 2012 in the Denver Post, the new Colorado All Payer Claims Database will shine a harsh spotlight on health price differences that can not be justified.
Organizers claim the database will be Colorado’s most accurate reflection ever of costs actually paid by consumers, insurance companies and government plans. Many other listings have focused on “charges” — the retail prices for health care rarely paid by large insurers or the very poor.
By late next year, another leap in data will allow consumers and analysts to compare actual costs for various services on a hospital-by-hospital or doctor-by-doctor level, with the provider named and open to questioning.
Cost experts estimate $750 billion, or about 25 percent, of U.S. health care spending is unnecessary and driven by waste, misuse or overuse. That waste won’t be cut until consumers can shop accurately for health care, and providers can see how others deliver care more efficiently, database promoters said.
By late 2013 or early 2014, consumers should be able to use an interface showing, for example, their share of cost and the insurer’s share for a colonoscopy at specific hospitals within a 20-mile radius. A side-by-side column would also show a quality rating for each facility, taking into account factors like how many post-surgery infections occurred at that hospital.
I believe that if this new database can live up to these projections, it will have a huge impact on lowering medical cost.