The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) announced today that Assurant
Health will join three other major health insurance companies, Aetna,
Humana and UnitedHealthcare, to work with HCCI as it develops free
online tools that will offer consumers the most comprehensive
information about the price and quality of health care services.
In addition, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) will
join a committee charged with identifying quality metrics and data that
will be incorporated into the tools. This committee includes the chief
medical officers from each of the participating health plans and others
are being recruited.
Further, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and
Partners HealthCare are participating to develop consumer transparency
and public reporting standards for capitated, integrated, and
valued-based health plan designs. (Capitation is a payment arrangement
for a health service provider that provides care for a fixed amount for
each enrollee regardless of whether or not they seek care.) HCCI will
use these recommendations to guide future development of its health care
cost and quality transparency initiative and to develop standards for
public reporting by state all-payer claims databases.
"These recommendations will offer valuable insights about health costs
and resources and make information on the cost and quality of health
care more accessible and easier to understand, particularly in light of
new payment models," said David Newman, Executive Director of HCCI.
The independent, not for profit HCCI announced in May that it will
create and administer an information portal that will provide consumers,
employers and regulators comprehensive information about the price and
quality of health care. In July, HCCI announced that the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has granted it access to the Medicare
fee-for-service data set as CMS' only national qualified entity. HCCI
expects the new transparency tools to be available in early 2015 and
will maintain and manage access to the information in a highly secure,
"HCCI's transparency tools will give consumers a single, comprehensive
destination for data on health care cost and quality to help them make
more informed decisions about treatments and services," said Newman. "By
participating in this expanding initiative, these organizations are
helping to ensure the sustainability of the U.S. health system."
Other major carriers continue to express interest in the initiative and
HCCI expects more health plans and other stakeholders to join in the
Health care costs have been rising more than three times as fast as
wages. Official estimates project that U.S. health spending will reach
$4.7 trillion by the end of the decade-an 80 percent increase from $2.6
trillion in 2010-underlining the need to better understand the cost and
quality of health care services to help make decisions and choices about
HCCI's tools will aggregate data from commercial health plans with the
intention of ultimately linking it to data from Medicare Advantage and
Medicaid health plans. Price data includes the allowed amount
paid by the insurer plus copays and deductibles. The cost data will be
supplemented with data on quality. The information will be available to
consumers, purchasers, regulators and payers in an accessible,
comparable and easy-to-use format. Employers will be able to customize
their employees' experience.
HCCI expects the transparency platform will continue to be refined in
subsequent releases after its introduction. For example, future updates
of the tools are expected to include more comparison features, such as
allowing for comparison of prices between providers and, in the longer
term, data from fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid programs, as and
when it becomes available.
Participating insurers will continue to offer their own transparency
tools and solutions in addition to contributing to HCCI's platform.
About the Health Care Cost InstituteThe Health Care Cost
Institute was launched in 2011 to promote independent, nonpartisan
research and analysis on the causes of the rise in U.S. health spending.
For more information, visit www.healthcostinstitute.org
or follow us on Twitter @healthcostinst.
About Assurant HealthAssurant Health is the brand name for
a family of health insurance products focused on providing a variety of
affordable plan choices to consumers. The portfolio of health care
products includes major medical and supplemental plans for individuals,
families and small employers. Assurant Health is committed to providing
access to convenient health care delivery, easy-to-understand products
and value-added services that help customers better manage their health
care dollars and get the most out of their coverage, ultimately seeking
to protect not only financial security but also the health and
well-being of its customers. Assurant Health is headquartered in
Milwaukee, Wis. Assurant Health is part of Assurant, a premier provider
of specialized insurance products and related services in North America
and select worldwide markets. Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a
member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Assurant has approximately $30 billion in assets and $9 billion in
annual revenue. Assurant has approximately 17,500 employees worldwide
and is headquartered in New York's financial district. For more
information on Assurant Health, please visit www.assuranthealth.com.
About Harvard Pilgrim Health CareHarvard Pilgrim Health
Care is a not-for-profit health services company serving more than one
million members in New England. Founded in 1969, the health plan has
built its reputation on pragmatic innovation with a goal of lowering
costs, improving care and enhancing the overall member experience.
Harvard Pilgrim is known for its excellent clinical programs, customer
service, health improvement strategies and innovative tools that offer
consumers greater transparency and empower them to make better decisions
about their health care. Harvard Pilgrim is the #1 private health
services company in America again according to an annual ranking of the
nation's best health plans by the National Committee for Quality
Assurance (NCQA). Harvard Pilgrim is the only private health plan in the
nation to be named #1 for member satisfaction and quality of care for
ten consecutive years.
About Health NetHealth Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT) is a publicly
traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care
services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care
plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable.
Health Net provides and administers health benefits to approximately
5.8 million individuals across the country through group, individual,
Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly
referred to as "Part D"), Medicaid, U.S. Department of Defense,
including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net also offers
behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs,
managed health care products related to prescription drugs, managed
health care product coordination for multi-region employers, and
administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits
programs. For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit the
company's website at www.healthnet.com.
About Kaiser PermanenteKaiser Permanente is committed to
helping shape the future of health care. Kaiser Permanente is recognized
as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit
health plans. Founded in 1945, its mission is to provide high-quality,
affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members
and the communities we serve. Kaiser Permanente currently serves
approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of
Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health
and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of
caregivers. Its expert and caring medical teams are empowered and
supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health
promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and
world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated
to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support
of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.
About NCQANCQA is a private, non-profit organization
dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies
a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians
and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA's Healthcare
Effectiveness Data and Information Set is the most widely used
performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA's Web site (ncqa.org)
contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more
informed health care choices.
About Partners HealthCarePartners HealthCare is an
integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and
Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical
centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals,
a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician
network, home health and long-term care services, and other
health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation's leading
biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of
Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
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