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Price Transparency Platform Linked to Lower Claims Payments

Use of price transparency information linked to lower payments for common medical services

TUESDAY, Oct. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Access to an employer-sponsored private price transparency platform is associated with reduced total claims payments, according to research published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher Whaley, from the University of California in Berkley, and colleagues examined whether the use of an employer-sponsored private price transparency platform correlated with lower claims payments. Data relating to payments for clinical services provided were compared for patients who searched a pricing website prior to service use (searchers) and those who did not do this research (nonsearchers).

Before having access to the price transparency platform, the researchers found that searchers had higher claims payments than nonsearchers for laboratory tests (4.11 percent) and advanced imaging (5.57 percent), and no difference in payments for clinician office visits (0.26 percent). Relative claim payments were lower for searchers versus nonsearchers for laboratory tests, advanced imaging, and clinician office visits following access to the price transparency platform (13.93, 13.15, and 1.02 percent lower, respectively). The absolute payment differences were $3.45, $124.74, and $1.18, respectively, for laboratory tests, advanced imaging, and clinician office visits.

"Use of price transparency information was associated with lower total claims payments for common medical services," the authors write. "Patient access to pricing information before obtaining clinical services may result in lower overall payments made for clinical care."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Castlight Health.

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