A large health insurer is going to give more consumers information about the prices their own plans pay specific doctors for specific medical services.
Aetna Inc., Hartford, says the detailed, real-world price data will be available in Atlanta, Houston, Maine, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Va., Tulsa, Okla., and parts of Utah starting in April.
Aetna starting providing detailed provider price data in some markets starting in August 2005.
Once the new markets join a program, Aetna will be offering detailed price data for 100,000 doctors to 3.5 million consumers, or about 22% of Aetna medical insurance plan members, the company says.
Critics of many doctor price data programs have criticized them for providing retail prices that few patients pay, rather than the discounted prices that a patient’s plan really will pay.
The Aetna program gives consumers “actual rates specific to their health plan for office visits, diagnostic tests, minor procedures, major procedures and other services,” Aetna says.