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Private Payers Will Publish Healthcare Prices

Three major health insurance companies have agreed to publish their healthcare prices in a free online portal starting next year.

Citing a need for research on private health insurance claims data to gain understanding of health care costs, Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare have partnered with the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to offer timely information about the price and quality of health care services.

A HCCI spokesperson has indicated other private payers are expected to join with the organization to share their pricing data as well.

HCCI, which was established in 2011, will maintain and administer the website, which is being touted as a one-stop shop to help consumers manage the cost and quality of care.

This new online tool will include aggregate pricing data from commercial health plans as well as information about Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans, if states agree.

The initiative follows efforts by the Obama administration to publish Medicare cost data.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Services published Medicare billing records for almost 800,000 physicians who received funds for Medicare Part B services they billed to the program.

Last year, CMS released a database detailing the amounts hospitals charge for the 100 most common procedures and has indicated it will release updated hospital data before the end of June 2014.

HCCI has also partnered with leading research, actuarial and government organizations to research claims data to better understand what drives health spending and use of services.