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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Introduces Cost Disclosure Tool Throughout Colorado
Date:11/2/2010

DENVER, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado announced today the expansion of its industry-leading transparency initiative beyond major metro areas into the entire state.  Colorado members from Silverton to Sterling and everywhere in between can now access Anthem Care Comparison, an online tool that provides medical cost information for 59 specific medical procedures performed at local area hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and free-standing radiology facilities.  The procedures now include office visit and chiropractic visit costs.  

"Through this sophisticated tool, our members have access to the costs associated with all aspects of a specific medical procedure – not just the cost of the procedure itself, but also the costs of the entire spectrum of care, from lab tests to recovery room charges," said John Martie, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado. "These medical care cost estimates will help our members better understand the overall costs they are likely to incur before a medical service is provided."

Anthem Care Comparison has been available in major Colorado cities such as Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Grand Junction since 2008, and this month it rolled out to the entire state. In addition, Care Comparison added information for another 20 procedures for a total of 59, including brain MRIs, knee replacement surgery and screening colonoscopies. The cost information is facility specific, so members can compare the differences in cost among hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and/or free standing imaging centers.  Anthem members can also obtain information on how frequently facilities perform each procedure, which can assist the member in assessing the care they seek.

With the expansion of this online resource, individual and group members throughout Colorado join 24 million Anthem and other Blue Cross and Blue Shield members nationwide who can compare medical cost estimates.

In September 2006, Anthem unveiled the Anthem Care Comparison pilot in Dayton, Ohio, with partner General Motors, enabling thousands of Anthem members and GM employees in Dayton to participate in this transparency initiative. Since the rollout, Anthem has collected and analyzed feedback from members throughout the nation to help enhance the effectiveness of Anthem's Care Comparison tool. More than 90 percent surveyed indicated the cost information provided by the tool is valuable, while 84 percent said it increases their ability to make good, informed decisions regarding where to have a medical service. 

"Quality information is also included so that members can compare hospital expertise and experience," said Art Jones, M.D., Anthem's medical director in Colorado. "Members can access information regarding the number of patients treated, complication rates, mortality rates and average length of stay.  This quality information is available across the country."

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) selected Anthem Care Comparison as its national transparency platform for all Blue Plans, and each plan gets to decide whether to show the data on its website.  Most plans have chosen to do so, which means that members will be able to compare costs for procedures not only for Colorado but also in many markets outside of the state.

Anthem Care Comparison is a primary feature of the company's 360 Degree Health® program, one of the most robust benefits programs in our industry that comprehensively addresses preventive care, health improvement and care coordination. It provides health information collected from physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to our members through a single point of contact.  It integrates all care management programs and tools into a centralized, consumer-friendly resource that assists members in navigating the health care system, using their health benefits and providing information to help them access comprehensive and appropriate care. 360 Degree Health helps members access a wide range of services including online wellness and lifestyle programs, discounts on health-related products and alternative medicine therapies, and 24-hour access to health care professionals who can provide health information.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado is available at www.anthem.com.


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SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado
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