New Hampshire revamps health care cost comparison site
CONCORD, N.H. >> New Hampshire consumers can now compare prices on dental care and prescription drugs in addition to medical procedures through a state government website designed to help them save money on health care costs.
The New Hampshire Insurance Department has added features to its NH HealthCost online tool. The update announced Thursday includes information on 31 new medical procedures, including physical therapy and behavioral health, 16 dental procedures and 65 prescription drugs.
"It's going to help consumers make informed choices, and hopefully that will help them save money and could help control health premium costs as we begin to make cost-effective choices about medical care," said Eireann Aspell, a spokeswoman for the project.
The revamped site also functions on mobile devices, she said.
"If someone's in a doctor's office, they'll be able to pull the website right up on their phone and have a conversation with their doctor," she said.
For example, users looking to compare costs on a colonoscopy can see that prices range from $1,269 to $4,104. But because cost does not necessarily correlate with quality, the department also has added information about the quality of care provided at various facilities, such as how often people are re-admitted after a heart attack or whether patients feel that doctors communicate well.
The site also includes a new guide to obtaining and managing health insurance. Last year, two nonprofit groups pushing for health care reform gave the site the only "A" grade in the country for transparency in health care prices.
First launched in 2007, the website previously included prices for about two dozen medical procedures. It draws information from a claims database to which insurers are required to report. For the past few years, it has averaged about 3,000 users a month, officials said.
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