Government violates your medical privacy for medical price comparisons. But private sector already does this.

On November 1, Denver Business Journal reported:

The Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) launched a website Thursday that officials believe eventually will give Colorado patients and insurers a tangible way to find health care that is less expensive and more effective, bringing down its overall costs.

By the end of 2013, the All Payers Claims Database (link here) is expected to be able compare the costs of major medical procedures at hospitals and outpatient centers across the state, allowing allow people to choose less costly care and pressure expensive outliers to bring down prices.

Amy Oliver and Linda Gorman have reminded us that the All-Payer Claims Database threatens our medical privacy:

As if this isn’t bad enough, the alleged benefit of government taking our medical data for a website that compares prices is dubious. The private sector is already doing this. For example:

There’s more. In an article titled “How to Research Health Care Prices,” the Wall Street Journal states:

Changehealthcare.com, a unit of change:healthcare Inc., provides estimates of how much individual providers are paid by insurers, based on claims data from health plans.

And NewChoiceHealth.com gives providers’ list prices, which are derived from Medicare data, according to New Choice Health Inc. Another site, OutOfPocket.com, has a search service to help users find online pricing information listed on various sites.

You can also check for prices posted by specific hospitals and doctors. These are still relatively rare, and may represent list charges. But a few hospitals are also revealing roughly what they’re paid by insurers or offering calculators so insured patients can figure their out-of-pocket fees. A site called PriceDoc.com seeks to aggregate listings from doctors.

But government has the ability to create an unfair competitive advantage by requiring physicians to divulge information. Hmm.

See also John C. Goodman’s post: Domestic Medical Tourism is Taking Off.

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