Study: Patients Using Price Transparency Tool Save on Health Care

October 23, 2014 in News

Individuals who used an online pricing transparency tool spent less on advanced imaging tests, lab tests and clinician office visits than those who did not use the tool, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Modern Healthcare‘s “Vital Signs” reports

Study Details

For the study, Castlight Health researchers compared claims data on 253,757 households insured by 18 different large companies between 2010 and 2013. All of the households had access to a pricing transparency platform marketed by Castlight (Tahir, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 10/22). 

The claims data were divided into two groups, including:

  • A “searcher” group of 116,000 individuals who used the pricing tool up to 14 days before their medical procedure; and
  • A “non-searcher” group of 386,000 individuals who did not use the tool during that time frame.

Findings

The study found that the “searcher” group paid:

  • 14% less for lab tests than the “non-searcher” group, accounting for an average cost savings of about $3.45;
  • 13% less for advanced imaging services, accounting for an average cost savings of about $124.74; and
  • 1% less for clinician visits, accounting for an average cost savings of about $1.18 (Comstock, MobiHealthNews, 10/22).

In terms of cost-sharing, the study found:

  • Searchers with strong cost-sharing saved about $139 for advanced imagining services compared with non-searchers, while those with no cost-sharing saved about $155 on the service;
  • Searchers with strong cost-sharing saved $4.05 on lab tests compared with non-searchers, while those with no cost-sharing saved $3.58; and
  • Searchers with strong cost-sharing saved $0.84 compared with non-searchers, while those with no cost-sharing saved $3.00 (“Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 10/22).
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