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Shopping for Price in Medical Care

Feb. 6, 2007
Health Affairs, Web exclusive
Paul B. Ginsburg

Insurers are well positioned to support their enrollees in shopping for care because of their ability to analyze complex data—reflecting both their negotiated discounts and the enrollee’s benefit structure—should they decide to commit resources to this task. Government transparency initiatives can help those who are uninsured or want to use out-of-network providers with data on prices and all patients by gathering and disseminating data on quality. But clumsy requirements to disclose insurer-provider contracts could lead to higher prices. Greater price transparency might help curb rising costs, but many overstate the likely magnitude of its contribution.

Free access to this article, funded by the California HealthCare Foundation, is available at the CHCF Web site by clicking here.



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