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Colorado Medical Price Compare offers clearer view of medical costs

A Colorado Medical Price Compare screenshot.

Will you pay $25,000 or $58,000 for a total knee joint replacement? Thi is just the type of question the recently launched Colorado Medical Price Compare website was designed to answer.

Developed by Denver-based Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), the site allows users to compare and estimate costs for certain medical procedures at hospitals across the state, what insurers and consumers paid for those services, as well as the quality of service patients received. 

Such pricing information allows the insured and uninsured to understand how much the services will cost for the patients. It also allows hospitals a chance to look at what their peers are charging and could help them find ways to reduce costs on certain procedures to keep competitive with other hospitals. 

"This is the first time price information based on actual payments made by health insurance plans and patients has been made available to Coloradans," explains acting CIVCH CEO Edie Sonn. "It is significant because it marks the first time Coloradans can see real pricing information along with quality data across all commercial payers and Medicaid." The site does not yet have information on self-insured plans.

At this time, the site has information only on four procedures: total knee joint replacement, total hip joint replacement, uncomplicated vaginal birth and cesarean birth. By the end of 2014 CIVHC anticipates adding information about nine more services and ambulatory surgery center prices. In 2015, it plans to more than 25 additional services at a variety of facility types.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Chris Meehan.

Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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