health care
The site lets you compare health care costs. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts residents have a new tool to help them make health care decisions with the launch Wednesday of an online transparency website that includes procedure pricing comparisons, provider quality metrics and other resources.

 

The Center for Health Information and Analysis' new CompareCare site, located at MassCompareCare.gov, uses claims data to show the full amount medical providers were paid, by both the insurer and the patient, for nearly 300 procedures including X-rays, MRIs, office visits and blood tests.

 

It also provides links to individual health plan websites, where consumers can find information about their expected out-of-pocket costs.

 

CompareCare shows the possible cost of a diagnostic colonoscopy, for example, ranging from $969 at South Shore Endoscopy Center in Braintree to $1,624 at Baystate Noble Hospital Corporation in Westfield, with links to quality metrics at each provider.

 

Educational materials on the website aim to explain common procedures and offer patients specific questions they should "consider asking their doctor and health plan if they are having one of the procedures," according to CHIA.

 

"We are hopeful that this tool can be used by individuals to assist them in finding providers that are both high quality and lower cost," Massachusetts Association of Health Plans CEO Lora Pellegrini said in a statement. "The launch of this site is an important step in opening the black box of provider pricing and driving care to the state's highest value physicians and hospitals."

A 2012 health care cost containment law tasked CHIA with developing a consumer website.