Massachusetts insurers boost price transparency with cost estimator tools | Becker’s Hospital Review

Massachusetts insurers continue to make progress with their cost estimator tools and price transparency efforts, but there is still a lot more they can accomplish, according to a Pioneer Institute study.

The study, conducted at the end of 2017, follows up on a 2015 evaluation by Boston-based advocacy group Health Care For All. As part of the initial evaluation, HCFA looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan’s compliance with state price transparency rules.

Massachusetts law required insurers to develop online cost estimator tools by October 2014, and HCFA assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the insurer’s tools in its 2015 evaluation. Harvard Pilgrim and Tufts got a C, and Blue Cross got a C-.

In the 2017 study, Pioneer Institute assessed the same insurers and found “significant improvements” with the insurer’s cost estimator tools.

“The ability of consumers to compare several providers at once and to obtain results in a variety of ways such as low to high dollar values or distance from home or work is very helpful,” the Pioneer Institute wrote. “Each carrier also has a drug price tool for members, and access to these separate tools is relatively straightforward.”

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Massachusetts insurers boost price transparency with cost estimator tools.