New Hampshire Named Best in U.S. for Insurance Department Website

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New Hampshire is the only state in the country to earn an A in a national report card just released on access to health care prices, issued by two nonprofit organizations that focus on health care reform. The report card cites NH HealthCost.org, a website created by the New Hampshire Insurance Department, as “a prime example of a price transparency website built with consumers in mind.”

NH Health Cost

New Hampshire HealthCost helps people all over the state compare rates at health care providers on more than two dozen services, such as knee surgeries, colonoscopies, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and X‐rays

Concord, NH – New Hampshire is the only state in the country to earn an A in a national report card on access to health care prices, issued by two nonprofit organizations that focus on health care reform.

The report card cites NH HealthCost.org, a website created by the New Hampshire Insurance Department, as “a prime example of a price transparency website built with consumers in mind.”

“The site accounts for both insured and uninsured patients and provides great details on the methodology in consumer-friendly terms,” says the report, developed by the organizations Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Institute. “We commend New Hampshire for the effort it has put into the site and urge other states to use NH HealthCost as a model when developing price information for their residents.”

NH HealthCost, which was created by the Insurance Department in 2007, uses paid claims data collected from New Hampshire’s health insurers to show patients (both insured and uninsured) an estimated price for a procedure. Patients are able to access the total costs of their procedures, including physician fees, lab fees, and facility fees. New Hampshire residents can use the site to find out expected charges – and out‐of‐pocket costs – and see how they vary among hospitals and outpatient facilities.

“New Hampshire HealthCost helps people all over the state compare rates at health care providers on more than two dozen services, such as knee surgeries, colonoscopies, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and X‐rays,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “We are proud of the national recognition the site has received, but we’re even prouder that we have been able to help so many New Hampshire residents save money and better understand the complexities of health care costs.”

The site was offline for several months in 2014, while the Department worked through challenges with an outside company it had hired to capture raw claims data from health insurers and consolidate that information into a database. For this reason, New Hampshire received an F on last year’s national report card. In 2010, the Insurance Department was awarded The Innovation in Data Dissemination Award for the site by the National Association of Health Data Organizations.

A redesigned and improved NH HealthCost site will launch this fall. Additions to the website will include cost information for dozens more procedures, including rates for laboratory services, dental care, and prescription drugs. The site also will include more resources for New Hampshire residents, including information on how to use insurance benefits and navigating the health care delivery system.

“We are pleased that we have been able to bring increased transparency to health care costs in New Hampshire,” Commissioner Sevigny said. “We will continue to look for ways to help Granite Staters navigate their health insurance plans and make informed choices.”

The website can be found at http://www.NHHealthCost.org. To read the full report card, visit:http://www.catalyzepaymentreform.org/images/documents/2015_Report_PriceTransLaws_06.pdf.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance.

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Danielle Kronk Barrick