KHN: Coalition Hopes To Amp Up Push For Health Care Transparency

By: Lisa Gillespie, 4/9/15

As consumers increasingly are being asked to pay a larger share of their health bills, a coalition of insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and provider and consumer advocacy groups launched Thursday a new push for greater transparency regarding the actual costs of services.

The group includes AARP, Novo Nordisk, the National Consumers League, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, the National Council for Behavioral Health and Aetna.

Health care transparency, long a buzz word, means all consumers- whether they are covered by Medicare, work-based insurance or without coverage at all- have access to information enabling them to estimate accurately the cost of health services, and compare physician quality rankings and outcomes.

The initiative, “Clear Choices,”  will add to private and government efforts already underway to get more such information to patients, including Medicare’s Physician Compare, and the Health Care Cost Institute’s ‘Guroo,’ which culls data from private insurers to provide average prices regionally.

The group’s first priority is advancing the Medicare doctor payment legislation pending in the Senate because it includes a provision requiring Medicare to release for broader use a substantial amount of data on claims at the provider level.

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