New Hampshire Price Transparency Website Could Be Model for Other States

New Hampshire's creation of a price transparency website for health care services suggests publishing payment rates can affect negotiations between insurers and providers, Modern Healthcare reports.


New Hampshire's HealthCost website uses information from the state's all-payer claims database -- the Comprehensive Health Care Information System -- to provide consumers with estimates of insurer and out-of-pocket costs for health care services.

The website, which launched in February 2007, aims to define the real prices of health care services. In the last quarter, about 2,800 individuals visited the website.  

Earlier this month, New Hampshire earned the only "A" grade in the Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute's annual report card highlighting state transparency efforts.

Results From N.H. Initiative

Although NH HealthCost was designed for consumers, insurers and providers have an especially critical stake in the initiative. 

According to Modern Healthcare, New Hampshire's price transparency initiative has spurred new models for insurance plan benefits, prompting consumers to seek out lower-cost care settings and hospitals to provide patients with more affordable care settings. HealthCost also has driven insurers to offer incentives to members who choose lower-cost care sites, such as an ambulatory surgery center instead of a facility within a hospital.

A 2014 study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research found the price transparency initiative is at least partly responsible for health plan designs in New Hampshire to develop faster than those in other areas of the U.S., and has forced several high-cost providers to lower their rates.

Critics note that New Hampshire's initiative is limited by a lack of competition among hospitals in the state. However, as more states seek to increase pricing transparency, New Hampshire's effort is being seen as a model (Kutscher, Modern Healthcare, 7/18).

Source: iHealthBeat, Tuesday, July 21, 2015