Healthcare Bluebook

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Healthcare Bluebook
Private
Industry Healthcare
Founded 2008
Founder Jeffrey Rice, MD
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Area served
United States
Products Healthcare Transparency Pricing Online and Mobile Tool
Parent CareOperative LLC
Website http://www.healthcarebluebook.com

Healthcare Bluebook, owned by privately held CareOperative LLC, provides free online tools designed to enable consumers to understand how much they should pay for healthcare services.

The company website allows consumers to look up the fair market cash price for thousands of medical procedures, diagnostic tests, medications and other services. The company’s Fair Price is the amount a cash paying patient should pay for a service.[1] Specific price data are available by US zip codes, allowing users to customize the results to their local area.

The Fair Price represents the amount that many providers accept from insurance companies as payment in full for a service. This amount is typically lower than a provider’s “list price”.[2] The fair price is calculated from industry data on numerous providers, payors and employers across the United States.[3]

Other businesses offering similar services are HealthSparq, Changehealthcare.com, NewChoiceHealth.com, Castlight Health, and OutOfPocket.com.[4]

History[edit]

Healthcare Bluebook was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, United States.[5] Healthcare Bluebook is owned by CareOperative LLC. CareOperative LLC provides information, tools and processes that enable fair, upfront pricing for healthcare services and products.[6]

Services[edit]

The company works with consumers, employers and providers of health care services to develop tools that advance their mission of fair, upfront pricing and quality ratings in healthcare.

Healthcare Consumers[edit]

Consumers may access all of the company’s services for free. The pricing tool allows consumers to look up the fair cash price for thousands of services including in-patient surgery, outpatient surgery, physician visits, diagnostic and laboratory tests, prescription medications, cosmetic surgery and dentistry. The website also provides a practical guide to healthcare consumerism and tools for negotiating and documenting provider fees.

Employers[edit]

The company provides a customized version of their website for employers. The employer service supports implementation and management of Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHP), High Deductible Health Plans and other consumer oriented benefit designs.

Healthcare Providers[edit]

The company invites healthcare providers to participate in their service by providing cash prices for healthcare services that can be used by consumers.

The Need for Healthcare Price Transparency[edit]

A 2007 study by National Center for Policy Analysis outlined a case for improved healthcare quality and lower cost resulting from increased patient consumerism.[7] The study found that the keys to realizing the value of consumerism are two-fold. First, patients need to act as consumers since they are paying a larger out-of-pocket proportion of their healthcare. Second, consumers must have access to pricing information from providers before the service is rendered.

Americans are paying more out of pocket for their healthcare services. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2007 there were 45.7 million uninsured Americans.[8] Out of pocket costs for the 177 million Americans with employer sponsored insurance have also increased. A 2008 Mercer study reports that median healthcare deductibles for the working insured have increased from $500 to $1,000 between 2007 and 2008.[9] A similar Hewitt Associates analysis also reports overall out of pocket healthcare expenses have risen from $1,576 to $1,707 over the same period.[10][11]

Despite the fact that out of pocket costs are rising, the promise of true consumerism has been stymied by the lack of free, accurate and easily accessible tools that enable patients to effectively shop for the best provider price. The lack of price information is highlighted by the NCPA study:

In most markets, prices and quality indicators are transparent - clear and readily available to consumers. Health care is different: Prices are difficult to obtain and often meaningless when they are disclosed. Patients who ask for price information are likely to be disappointed. Typically, neither the hospital nor the doctor will know the cost until the procedure is completed.[12]

The company’s core services seek to address the key deficiencies in healthcare price transparency by providing tools that address the healthcare price knowledge gap.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Healthcare Bluebook Media Info
  2. ^ The Healthcare Bluebook About
  3. ^ The Healthcare Bluebook FAQ
  4. ^ Lifting the Veil on Pricing for Health Care, Web Sites Help Patients Shop for Medical Services; Cutting Surgery by $3,000, By ANNA WILDE MATHEWS, Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Healthcare Bluebook Contact Info
  6. ^ CareOperative LLC Corporate website
  7. ^ National Center for Policy Analysis The Market for Medical Care
  8. ^ US Census Bureau Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007
  9. ^ Mercer Mercer survey finds $1,000 health plan deductible was the norm in 2008
  10. ^ Hewitt Associates Hewitt Associates Data Reveals Rate of Increases for U.S. Health Care Costs Declines for Fifth Consecutive Year
  11. ^ Hewitt Associates Hewitt Data Reveals Little Change in U.S. Health Care Cost Increases for 2009
  12. ^ National Center for Policy Analysis The Market for Medical Care

External links[edit]