New Research First to Reveal Healthcare Pricing Trends





New Research First to Reveal Healthcare Pricing Trends: Abilify Tops List for Savings Opportunities; Walmart, Target Show Widest Cost Discrepancies
Healthcare Transparency Index Provides Employers and Employees Critical Insight to Making Cost-effective Decisions on Prescription Drugs and Routine Care

Brentwood, Tenn., November 22, 2010:- While the government claims to provide pricing for drugs and procedures, those listings only highlight what Medicare and Medicaid are willing to reimburse, not what those services actually cost. Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies provide patients with an itemized bill for care – but only AFTER the fact. The Healthcare Transparency Index, issued today by change:healthcare, is the first to provide healthcare consumers with ongoing trends data about actual healthcare costs – offering insight into critical opportunities for cost savings.

With more than 60 percent of employers in the U.S. expected to offer a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) in 2011 as a way to curb costs, employees and their families will be increasingly accountable for “shopping” and paying for their healthcare – making it more critical than ever for them to understand the costs involved. To be issued quarterly, the inaugural Healthcare Transparency Index includes data derived from more than 1.3 million medical claims, totaling $220 million, from 90,000 individuals across all 50 states over a 12-month period. Key findings include:

    * Prescription drugs offer the highest opportunity for cost savings ($8 million across the HCTI data set), followed by dental, routine primary care physician office visits, psychotherapy, physical therapy and chiropractic. View Chart
    * Costs for commonly prescribed drugs can vary greatly. The following prescription drugs offer the greatest opportunities for cost savings for both brand names and generics – by simply switching pharmacies. In fact, an Abilify consumer could save up to nearly $2,500/yr by making a pharmacy change. View Chart
    * Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, CVS and WalGreens top the list of pharmacy chains with the widest prescription cost discrepancies for both brand name and generic drugs. View Chart

“The way healthcare costs are hidden from the people who need to understand them has to change,” said Christopher Parks, CEO of change:healthcare. “We created the Healthcare Transparency Index to highlight the most significant healthcare trends, and even more importantly, the cost savings opportunities that we believe every person should understand BEFORE they are forced to make important decisions about their care.”

For the full Healthcare Transparency Index, as well as accompanying graphics and charts, please visit www.changehealthcare.com/hcti.
Driving Value for CDHPs for Businesses and Employees

While CDHPs have been hotly debated for the past several years, businesses continue to demonstrate financial benefit through the implementation of these plans. More than 50 percent of companies in the U.S. offer a CDHP, including Microsoft, Kraft, GE and General Motors. According to the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, CDHP enrollees spend $2,000 less than enrollees in traditional plans.

“As an economist, I believe a CDHP is the only version of health insurance that makes any economic sense, because in that model, the individual actually cares about the price of services when they’re making the decision about what to consume,” said R. Lawrence Van Horn, associate professor of Healthcare Management and faculty director, Healthcare Programs, at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. “The main challenge that employers have with moving to CDHP is educating employees and changing their mentality around the accountability – employees have to actually care about the healthcare costs they’re generating, and make sound and wise purchases.”

Index Powered by the Cost Transparency Solution

Since 2008, change:healthcare has collected and analyzed more than 1.3 million medical claims to deliver opportunities for healthcare savings through its Cost Transparency Solution (CTS), an online portal that allows employees with CDHPs to compare costs, review options and select the care that works best for them. The solution’s Ways to Save Alerts™ proactively and automatically notifies employees with immediate opportunities to save money on personal healthcare services, guiding them on how to easily make a switch to another pharmacy or physician in their local area.

“It’s very difficult for every person to manage their own healthcare, due to the fact we have no visibility into costs of doctors, drugs and hospitals, and it’s even more confusing trying to decipher a bill after the fact,” said Marsha Paul, Thompson Machinery. “With an understanding of what prescriptions, procedures and doctor’s visits actually cost, we can make those decisions about whether which physicians we see or which pharmacy can offer the best prices.”

About change:healthcare

change:healthcare (www.changehealthcare.com) has set the industry standard for true healthcare cost transparency – a critical component to the success of consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) and to controlling the burden of rising healthcare costs. Built on more than three years of medical claims data, the company’s web-based Cost Transparency Solution provides employees with personalized views of pricing information and proactive alerts that highlight opportunities to save money on routine care and prescriptions in their local area. By enabling informed decision-making prior to selecting and receiving care, change:healthcare delivers substantial cost savings to both employers and employees. change:healthcare works with more than 100 self-insured businesses across the U.S., representing nearly 100,000 lives.