By Martha Bebinger, WBUR
KHN / OCT 09, 2014
This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.
Without much fanfare, Massachusetts launched a new era of health care shopping last week.
Anyone with private health insurance in the state can now go to his or her health insurer’s website and find the price of everything from an office visit to an MRI to a Cesarean section. For the first time, health care prices are public.
“Let the light shine in on health care prices.”
Occasionally over the years, I’d receive manila envelopes with no return address, or secure .zip files with pricing spreadsheets from one hospital or another.
Then two years ago, Massachusetts passed a law that pushed health insurers and hospitals to start making this once-vigorously guarded information more public.
Now as of Oct. 1, Massachusetts is the first state to require that insurers offer real-time prices by provider in consumer-friendly formats.
“This is a very big deal,” said Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. “Let the light shine in on health care prices.”
There are caveats. Continue reading