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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Collaborates With Five Blue Plans to Increase Transparency, Expand Access to Health Care Cost Information

RICHARDSON, Texas, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) joined other Blue Plans today to announce plans to collaborate to provide access to an online, consumer-friendly health care cost information tool, developed by WellPoint, which is called "Care Comparison." With expansion of this easy-to-access, online tool, more than 48 million American consumers will have access to valuable cost information which will help plan members increase their knowledge as consumers of health care, and identify ways to spend their health care dollars more wisely.

"Blue Cross collaborated with WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) (the nation's largest health benefits company by medical membership), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), to provide access to this cost transparency tool," says Darren Rodgers, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "We are pleased to have reached our goal of creating opportunities for an even greater number of members to have easy access to clear, concise health cost information in major cities nationwide, which can ultimately help drive down health care costs through information and awareness."

The Care Comparison online tool will provide the following information:

  • Total estimated cost ranges associated with approximately 35 specific medical procedures
  • Costs are for procedures performed at more than 2,800 local hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, free-standing radiology facilities or other medical facilities
  • Cost ranges are facility-specific so members can compare the differences in costs between area facilities.
  • Ranges of health care cost information that will initially be rolled out on a limited basis in each of these states.
  • Estimated cost ranges based on combining related services typically performed at each facility at the time of the procedure, not just the procedure itself.

Additionally, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, has selected Care Comparison as its platform for a national transparency solution that will be made available to all Blue Plans. BCBSA will use the treatment categories and cost methodology as the core component for its consumer-facing cost estimation tool.

This arrangement enables BCBSA, WellPoint's affiliated health plans and other Blue plans to continue to work with physicians and facilities to provide members with meaningful health care cost data. In turn, members can make more informed choices about their health and health care spending. The tool will be customized to reflect the local ownership and health plan in each state, but members will have access to the same information from all states involved with the program.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas -- the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas -- is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. HCSC is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
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