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Insurer reports cost calculator saves $6.3M

August 16, 2017
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Health plan launches cost-calculator tool
The web-based health care Cost Estimator tool can also be accessed via a mobile app. Courtesy Priority Health

A local health insurer is reporting its members and the organization itself have saved $6.3 million total since the launch of its cost-calculator tool.

Grand Rapids-based Priority Health, part of Spectrum Health, said last month its members have saved an average of $1,000 to date by using its Cost Estimator tool, which was released two years ago and provides members with access to cost information per facility for “hundreds” of procedures based on their health plans.

“We pride ourselves on providing smart, innovative solutions for our members,” said Nathan Foco, senior director of market research and consumer analytics, Priority Health. “In an industry where consumers find costs unclear, Cost Estimator offers a remedy that puts the member in control of their costs and their care.”

Priority Health’s Cost Estimator spits out specific cost estimates, including out-of-pocket expenses.

When it originally launched in 2015, the tool mainly included procedures that had the most variance in cost. Its library of knowledge has since expanded to include cost information on some of the most searched and billed procedures, which include behavior health, physical therapy, vaccinations, eye exams and dermatology visits.

For instance, members who use the Cost Estimator can save an average of $5,330 on arthroscopic rotator cuff repair and $852 on a brain MRI, according to Priority Health.

“While we’re seeing success in the utilization of Cost Estimator, outpacing national averages for similar programs four to one, our hope is to increase engagement with the tool to continue to drive down health care costs for our members,” Foco said. 

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