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Blue Cross Blue Shield sheds light on health care costs Posted: February 15th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

As part of a trend among health insurance companies to create awareness of health care costs, Blue Cross Blue Shield is expanding use of an online price comparison tool. The tool has been available in 63 of the top 100 markets and is now being extended to customers nationwide.

Developed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) in collaboration with affiliate companies, the interactive resource provides pricing information for 59 common elective procedures in various health care settings.

In a news release announcing the tool, BCBSA President and CEO Scott P. Serota cited the need to provide consumers with detailed pricing information. According to Serota, the tool "will provide the transparency consumers need to make health care decisions to fit their budget and lifestyle and help rein in health care costs."

Pricing comes from 12 months of claims data, and provides consumers with a price range for the selected procedure. Consumers will be able to compare prices for several health care settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulatory surgery centers
  • Free-standing radiology centers

The tool joins a growing number of online and interactive resources being rolled out by health insurance companies to improve consumer access to health plan details and health care information.