PriceCheck New York City
Empowering Health Care Consumers
October 1, 2019
Price transparency can help consumers shop for health care to save money and achieve higher value.
This inherently means that consumers and patients will know the cost of something before they receive it. ClearHealthCosts, an online journalism outlet aiming to bring greater transparency to the health care marketplace, has created PriceCheck, a repository for people to share what they paid for common health-related procedures and how they felt about it. ClearHealthCosts has worked with media partners in several U.S. cities to encourage millions of consumers to share and search price information on PriceCheck, as well as arm them with practical information and strategies to avoid unexpected high medical bills. These campaigns have led to increased media attention and public discussion about the cost of care, as well as increased public education on health care pricing. In 2019, NYSHealth awarded a grant to ClearHealthCosts to generate a consumer-driven campaign to educate the public on price variations in shoppable health care services in New York City.
Under this grant, ClearHealthCosts partnered with WNYC and Gothamist to publish stories on actionable steps consumers can take to find out the cost of services, how to appeal a bill, and how to save on prescription drug costs. To encourage and engage New Yorkers in sharing their experiences, the campaign initially published stories explaining the project and inviting people to tell their stories and search for price information on PriceCheck. In addition, ClearHealthCosts conducted a survey of cash or self-pay prices for 30–35 common shoppable procedures from a range of accredited New York City-area providers. The survey responses were entered into PriceCheck to help patients search for how much health care services will cost in their area. The price information sourced directly from consumers and provider survey data was also supplemented by price data on medical procedures from Medicare. All the data was included in PriceCheck, which allowed New Yorkers to compare prices among local service providers for dozens of common health care procedures. PriceCheck helped attract more New Yorkers to use the website and share their information, thus providing more fuel for the media campaign.