NU Online News Service, Dec. 15, 2004, 3:12 p.m. EST

A Cypress, Calif., managed care company is trying to give customers more help with estimating the actual price of medical care.[@@]

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. is offering members of preferred provider plans and programs that combine high-deductible coverage with personal health accounts free access to a Web-based HealthCare Cost Estimator tool.

Plan members can use the tool to get ZIP-code specific cost ranges and information about 200 common diseases, conditions and medical procedures.

PacifiCare has based the tool figures on data from Integrated Healthcare Information Services Inc., Waltham, Mass. Integrated Healthcare has collected information about medical costs for 30 health plans and 25 million health plan members, PacifiCare says.