The California Department of Insurance together with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Consumer Reports, announced the launch of California Healthcare Compare, a web-based tool that offers quality and price information in a consumer-focused, easy-to-use website. The tool is now available at HealthcareCompare.insurance.ca.gov and at ConsumerReports.org/CAHealthcareCompare. The California Department of Insurance obtained federal Affordable Care Act grant funds to enhance transparency in healthcare pricing. The CDI then partnered with UCSF and Consumer Reports to create California Healthcare Compare.
California Healthcare Compare allows consumers to compare hospital and medical group quality in the areas of maternity care, hip and knee replacement, back pain, colon cancer screening, and diabetes to help consumers make informed decisions about where to seek care. The site also reveals estimated regional costs for more than 100 different medical procedures or conditions ranging from appendicitis to prostate cancer, illustrating dramatic price differences depending on where you seek care. To enhance consumers’ knowledge of the healthcare system, Consumer Reports provides expert tips and advice on how to navigate the healthcare system.
“Consumer Reports sought out and incorporated feedback from thousands of consumers on issues of navigation and usability, resulting in a tool that makes complex data on quality and cost easy to digest,” said Doris Peter, PhD, Director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Choosing a doctor or hospital shouldn’t be guesswork. By increasing cost and quality transparency in California, the tool gives consumers decision-making power that will ultimately drive marketplace change.”
“This website would not be possible in most states, because the information simply isn’t available,” said R. Adams Dudley, MD, Director of UCSF’s Center for Healthcare Value. “Because of the advocacy of California consumer and business groups and the vision of California’s insurers and providers, we have much more information about quality of care than most states.”
“We know there is wide variation in cost and quality across the state, and this program now allows each of us to better evaluate the doctors and hospitals available to us before we decide where to get care. It’s a key step in the long journey to increased transparency for California consumers,” added David Lansky, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Business Group on Health.