December 12, 2012 in Member Stories
Here at Aetna, we read with great interest, Martha Bebinger’s story chronicling her difficulties in finding the price of an MRI at different health care facilities in her area. As Martha notes, it is difficult for consumers to “shop around” or make “wise choices” on health care decisions when they can’t find the price of a service.
We agree, and have been working to make that price information available for the last decade. Through free member tools like our Aetna Member Payment Estimator, we provide cost information for more than 550 commonly used, non-emergency medical services, including traditional or C-section births, colonoscopies, MRIs and CT scans. Members can compare up to 10 cost estimates at a time for the selected procedure in a geographic area, so they can see cost differences among different health care providers. Better still, the Member Payment Estimator gives members a personal picture of the costs by providing real-time out-of-pocket cost estimates based on a member’s benefits plan.
Our members use this tool more than 70,000 times per month, each keeping as much as $170 in their own pockets after comparing costs on more than 30 common procedures. In 2011, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recognized the Member Payment Estimator as the only tool from a private health insurance company that “provides estimates of a consumer’s complete cost.” Read the rest of this entry →