Evaluating Consumer and Provider Effects of FAIR Health Online Shopping Tool
Empowering Health Care Consumers
April 11, 2017
More and more New Yorkers are enrolled in health insurance plans that have high deductibles, significant cost-sharing provisions, and narrow or closed networks.
As a result, it is imperative that consumers have the right information to understand and compare their health care options. Despite the need for better information, consumers continue to face a lack of health care price transparency tools. In 2015, NYSHealth awarded a grant to FAIR Health, which oversees the nation’s largest private claims database, to create a consumer tool with pricing information that would help consumers compare providers. The tool, NY HOST, launched in two phases: a physician charge phase in September 2017 and a hospital charge phase in February 2018 that offered pricing information for hospitals in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Westchester. To evaluate the tool’s impact on consumer behavior, provider charges, and the health care market, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2017 to New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU).
Under this grant, NYU evaluated the effects of NY HOST at the consumer, provider, and market levels. Specifically, the evaluation examined the extent to which consumers use NY HOST and how the tool affected consumer shopping behavior across types of providers, procedures, and markets. In addition, NYU evaluated how providers respond to the availability of price information. To disseminate the results of the evaluation, NYU produced an issue brief and a peer-reviewed article. It also shared the findings with State and national policymakers, as well as provided recommendations to FAIR Health for improving and refining NY HOST.