Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Expands Cost Comparison Tool to Southeastern Wisconsin

Industry Leading Transparency Initiative Allows Members to Compare Price of 39 Common Medical Procedures

MILWAUKEE, July 9 /PRNewswire/ — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin today announced the expansion of its health care cost comparison tool to southeastern Wisconsin. An online-based resource, Anthem Care Comparison allows members to evaluate the cost of common medial procedures between providers and locations in order to facilitate health care decision-making.

“Anthem Care Comparison allows a member to see the prices and the number of procedures performed by hospitals across 39 elective, common and high dollar inpatient procedures,” said Steve Martenet, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “While cost is just one factor in evaluating medical care, we believe providing this data is important to ensure our members have the information they need to make more informed decisions and better understand how their choice of facility can impact their overall out-of-pocket costs.”

Anthem’s Care Comparison tool enables members to access the typical costs associated with all aspects of a specific medical procedure — not just the cost of the procedure itself, but all the costs of the entire spectrum of care ranging from lab tests to recovery room charges. Care Comparison generates this information while also factoring in hospital, physician, and anesthesia costs to help provide a more accurate total cost analysis.

In addition, because the information is facility specific, members can compare the differences in cost among hospitals and see how frequently facilities perform each procedure, to assess the care they seek. These facility-specific medical care cost estimates help consumers understand the overall costs they are likely to incur before a medical service is provided.

The data generated for the Anthem Care Comparison tool comes directly from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s claims data over the past 12 months and is updated quarterly. Cost and quality information, including ratings based on the number of services performed at each facility, is supplied by several company-developed programs and partnerships with leading information management companies.

“Ultimately, we want Anthem’s Care Comparison tool to create well-informed consumers of health care,” said Michael Jaeger, M.D., medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “Creating well-informed consumers, employers, physicians and hospital providers is an important element of transparency, and an essential step in transforming the consumers’ role in their own health care.”

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 member feedback 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.

With the expansion of the Care Comparison program to southeastern Wisconsin, 8 million Anthem members have access to the industry’s most comprehensive transparency initiative. Anthem plans to continue expanding the Care Comparison tool throughout Wisconsin in 2008 and nationally.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

In Wisconsin, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name used by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (“BCBSWi”) and Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (“Compcare”), independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)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 Wisconsin is available at .

Deb Wiethop
Scott Larrivee

PRNewswire — July 9
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Source: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin

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