Blue Cross to provide customers with healthcare cost information

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The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) last week announced a new initiative called Blue Distinction, a nationwide program that will create “healthcare transparency” to help patients make more informed healthcare decisions, and facilitate  collaborating with providers, according to a release.   

Blue Distinction is taking raw hospital and physician data and converting it into accessible, understandable and personalized information for easy use. It is to be is based on objective, consistent and common standards. The information will be available to the company’s over 94 million members nationwide.

Blue Distinction will identify and compare medical costs; provide a nationwide hospital measurement and improvement program; and through new specialty centers offer the best practices and standards of care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care and transplant services.

As of now, 17 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans are collaborating with local hospitals, physicians and medical groups in transparency demonstrations to identify and test the most effective ways to help consumers learn about the absolute and relative costs of medical services, including physician and hospital services. The demonstrations are underway in a variety of settings, including urban, suburban and rural markets across the country.