|By Business Wire||
|July 22, 2014 08:31 AM EDT||
UnitedHealthcare’s free mobile app Health4Me is now available to all consumers. Health4Me gives all users access to an array of health care information, including the ability to review market average prices for more than 520 medical services.
Health4Me is designed to help all consumers make more informed decisions regarding their care, including the ability to:
- locate nearby health care providers, and convenience care, urgent care and emergency care facilities;
- review market average prices for more than 520 medical services across 290 episodes of care, providing a comprehensive view of what consumers should expect throughout their course of treatment; and
- more easily anticipate and manage health care expenses based on local estimates.
UnitedHealthcare is among the first national health care companies to enable all consumers to comparison shop for medical services using a “guest” version of myHealthcare Cost Estimator™, a mobile medical price transparency service available through Health4Me. Consumers can download for free the Health4Me app through the iPhone and Android apps stores. More than 900,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants have already downloaded the Health4Me app.
“Giving consumers access to important medical cost information is improving transparency and making it easier for people to navigate the health care system,” said Yasmine Winkler, UnitedHealthcare’s chief product, marketing and innovation officer. “With reliable and actionable information about the prices of services, consumers now have an important resource at their fingertips that can help them make decisions to improve their health and save money.”
There are significant price variations for health care services and procedures at hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, even though there is no corresponding improvement in health outcomes for services performed by higher-priced health care providers. For example, the total cost for an uncomplicated childbirth, including prenatal and postnatal care, at hospitals in the New York City area falls between $9,699 and $29,076. For back surgery, specifically lumbar fusion, the cost ranges from $59,090 to $77,390 at area health care facilities in San Francisco. Other cities show similarly widespread variation by procedure.
Any consumer using myHealthcare Cost Estimator can estimate the cost of more than 520 common services across more than 290 “episodes of care,” which creates a comprehensive view of what consumers should expect throughout their course of treatment, from the time they first visit the doctor to the test or procedure, and through physical therapy or any necessary follow-up care. The cost information is based on local averages for each care path step.
For UnitedHealthcare plan participants, estimates are personalized to reflect an individual’s own health plan benefits, including his or her real-time account balances when applicable, and provide a comprehensive view of what consumers should expect throughout their course of treatment. Estimates are based on available fee schedules and actual contracted rates with care providers; in the small number of cases when that information is not available, estimates are based on historical claims with the care provider.
The latest functionality builds on the success of myHealthcare Cost Estimator, which provides more than 21 million UnitedHealthcare plan participants with quality ratings and personalized cost estimates based on actual contracted rates with health care providers and facilities. Since its introduction in 2012, myHealthcare Cost Estimator has generated more than $2.3 billion in estimates. Information covering about 726,000 health care professionals and 5,600 hospitals is available in multiple ways, including through UnitedHealthcare customer service representatives and health coaches, and online and mobile devices.
myHealthcare Cost Estimator continues the tradition of transparency established eight years ago when UnitedHealthcare introduced its first offering to help consumers comparison shop for health services and understand how costs differ from doctor to doctor.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.
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