In 2012, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted comprehensive legislation aimed at controlling health care costs. The law included a provision that requires insurers and third party payers to provide a toll-free phone number and website to members with real time estimated prices and the member’s estimated cost sharing (deductible, co-pay) for a proposed admission, procedure, or service.
Health Care For All (HCFA) supports efforts to increase health care cost transparency. With the growth of high deductible health plans, patients have a right to know cost information before getting care. Also, more public knowledge of price variation will better inform public discussion about health costs.
With support from the ACA Implementation Fund of Community Catalyst, HCFA assessed the consumer cost estimation tools of the state’s three largest insurers. In July 2015, HCFA released its findings which analyzed and reported on the tools of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan. Together, these three plans cover approximately 79% of all those with insurance in Massachusetts. We report our findings in the format of a comparative report card, using research-based criteria in the categories of aid in decision-making, accessibility, and comprehensiveness.
Click below to read the report card, click here to read the Boston Globe coverage of the report card, and click here to see HCFA ED Amy Whitcomb Slemmer discuss the report card on BNN News.