GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) — In Detroit, the price for a knee arthroscopy ranges from $1,400 to $13,000, and in West Michigan, the price for kidney stone treatments ranges from $2,000 to $14,000.
Statewide, driving just a few miles to a lower-priced surgery center or hospital can save patients thousands of dollars in health care services. This was a well-kept secret, until now. Priority Health has teamed up with Brentwood, Tenn.-based Healthcare Blue Book to become the first Michigan-based health plan to offer members a comparison shopping tool to review prices, compare quality and read consumer reviews.
In a world with eBay, Trip Advisor and Angie’s List, it’s common for consumers to compare the quality and price details of a car, resort or plumber. Health care service shopping can be as straightforward as many other online shopping experiences. The Healthcare Blue Book tool from Priority Health makes health care comparison shopping easier by identifying fair prices of more than 200 common procedures, including surgery, labs and imaging tests. And since price and quality are both important factors, consumers can also review quality rankings and consumer reviews of hospitals and physicians through Healthgrades, an independent website used by more than 225 million consumers.
“We can’t continue to ask individuals to take on more responsibility for health care costs without giving them the resources they need to manage those dollars,” said Michael P. Freed, president and CEO for Priority Health. “Priority Health is in a unique position to pull back the curtain on health care costs and provide our customers with the information they need to make informed health care decisions.”
Healthcare Blue Book uses Priority Health contracted fees to determine a “fair price” for health care services. The easy-to-understand results provide members with a traffic light visual to help them identify price ranges for facilities in each of Michigan’s geographic regions. Costs are assessed, by market, on a scale: at or below fair price (indicated by green), slightly above fair price (yellow) or among the most expensive (red).
“Our business is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing health care costs to inform consumers of fair prices in their market,” said Jeffrey Rice, M.D., CEO, Healthcare Blue Book. “It’s great to work with a health plan that shares our interest in health care price transparency. We anticipate that the tool will encourage really interesting conversations between patients and their doctors about treatment options and associated costs.”
Priority Health members can visit priorityhealth.com to access the Healthcare Blue Book tool from Priority Health.
Priority Health offers a broad portfolio of health benefit options for employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid plans. Its network of health care providers features 95 percent of practicing physicians available in Michigan and more than 900,000 nationwide. For more information, visit priorityhealth.com.
Healthcare Blue Book is a health care price transparency company that is dedicated to helping people better manage their health care by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to shop for and receive a fair price for health care services. Its website, healthcarebluebook.com, was the first to offer pricing data for health care services on a national basis. The company works with employers, health plans, third-party administrators, on-site health clinics, accountable care organizations and benefits brokers to help their consumers reduce the cost of health care.