As consumers look for new ways to obtain the best possible care and lower their health care costs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX), the largest provider of health benefits in the state, announces the enhanced Provider Finder, an online health care solution developed to enable members to more easily research and select physicians and hospitals, as well as estimate out-of-pocket health care costs. The Provider Finder provides cost estimates for more than 400 common medical procedures, increasing to 1600 by the end of the year.
Provider Finder allows members to search and compare more than 400,000 health professionals and 21,000 facilities nationwide, estimate treatment costs, access clinical quality data and read and write patient reviews. BCBSTX analyzed the use of Provider Finder for approximately 800,000 members and found that members who acted on a Provider Finder recommendation saved on average $900 per procedure.
Recent research indicates that consumers may pay as much as 683 percent more for the same medical procedures, in the same town, depending on the facility they choose.2 For example, the total cost for a knee replacement in the Dallas area could range from $18,801 to $47,324 depending on the facility.3 The Provider Finder offers members a simple, easy to navigate website, to help in selecting the best provider for their needs, based on location, clinical quality and costs. A few unique features include:
— Out-of-pocket costs. Unlike other transparency solutions that rely on estimated costs, the Provider Finder uses an expansive, proprietary database to provide information on out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket estimates are based on a member’s own health plan benefits including health reimbursement and health savings account balances.
— Unparalleled provider demographic data. The Provider Finder includes a large library of patient reviews of physicians and facilities, as well as photos and information on average wait times and physician training, expertise and awards.
— Extensive Provider Clinical Quality Data. Members can evaluate the quality of care with data from Blue Distinction/Blue Distinction+ Centers, Bridges to Excellence, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) distinctions and Physician Quality Measurement data.