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August 11, 2009

Highmark Launches Online Tool

To view online the costs of 17 elective surgical procedures at different medical facilities before scheduling their operations

By CBR Staff Writer

Highmark, a Pennsylvania-based health insurance company, has launched an online tool that aids its members to view online the costs of 17 elective surgical procedures at different medical facilities, before scheduling their operations.

When members access the ‘Care Comparison Costs’ section of the member Web site, they can compare shop for a hospital or another medical facility for the care they need. They can obtain average cost ranges for procedures, including all fees from admission to discharge, as well as anesthesia and pathology.

The tool does not provide actual costs, but the available cost-range information allows members with coinsurance or deductibles to have a better idea of their expenses. In addition, it only includes information on certain elective (non-emergency) surgeries such as laparoscopic gallbladder removal, cataract surgery and knee replacement surgery, said the company.

The cost comparison tool was developed in collaboration with four other Blue Plans – WellPoint, Premera Blue Cross in Washington state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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