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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – UnitedHealthcare introduced a new online cost estimator for its members in Rhode Island, myHealthcare Cost Estimator, which provides consumers with the information to compare costs for specific care and services from Rhode Island providers and hospitals.
The new application enables consumers view with transparency side by side comparisons for treatments and procedures, including costs associated with care, such as hospital fees, co-pays and potential out-of-pocket expenses, according to Ben Goldstein, spokesman for UnitedHealth.
Goldstein compared it to the online travel service, Orbitz, saying it allowed you to track health care costs in a transparent manner. “It allows the customer to anticipate future expenses as well as compare prices and costs for different procedures, such as an MRI,” he said.
To view a video of the new estimator, click here. .
“About $36 billion could be shaved off the nation's health care tab each year if the cost for 300 common procedures covered under employer-based insurance plans were reduced to their median prices,” Goldstein said, citing a February 2012 study by Thomson Reuters.
In addition to the Rhode Island market, the new health care estimator is being rolled in selected cities and regions, including Northern New Jersey, Baltimore, Boston Rochester and Philadelphia.