NU Online News Service, Jan. 6, 2005, 2:45 p.m. EST

A Louisville, Ky., carrier is beefing up its Web site to help patients do a better job of shopping for health care.[@@]

The carrier, Humana Inc., is adding an estimate of members’ out-of-pocket costs for the diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as chest pain and pregnancy to its hospital comparison database.

The hospital comparison database now can compare costs for up to 5 different hospitals for the same procedure.

The data base also provides information about complication rates, lengths-of-stay and mortality rates for a variety of conditions and procedures.

Patients can get to the database by visiting their personal Humana Web pages.