Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 16, 2014

UnitedHealthCare Cutting Costs and Increasing Healthcare Quality through Online Cost Estimation Tool

Two years ago, UnitedHealthcare, a national health insurance provider demonstrated its dedication to transparency through the release of its myHealthcare Cost Estimator, an integrated online service that assists clients in shopping for health insurance while providing accurate estimates of the costs for a variety of healthcare services. Since its release, myHealthcare Cost Estimator has been used to estimate more than $2.8 billion for approximately 635 services. In a recent study, the power of UnitedHealthcare's myHealthcare Cost Estimator was revealed, demonstrating the tool's ability to save consumers money while choosing high-quality healthcare providers.

UnitedHealthcare compared over 425,000 users and nonusers in order to collect data for their study, aptly named “A Comparison of myHealthcare Cost Estimator Users and Nonusers: Effect on Provider Choices.” The study revealed that users of myHealthcare Cost Estimator were more likely to choose high-quality healthcare providers, which in turn often led to savings for their employers.

The likelihood to choose a higher quality healthcare provider runs across the different specialties of healthcare. For example, users are more likely, by seven percent, to choose a high-quality physician if they are using myHealthcare Cost Estimator, while nine percent are more likely to choose a better orthopedist. 

“This study shows consumers who use myHealthcare Cost Estimator are making better, more informed choices regarding the quality of care,” said Sam Ho, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare. “By accessing crucial quality and cost information, people are taking control of their health and better understanding their treatment options.”

While UnitedHealthcare customers are able to get precise estimates based upon their specific plans with the myHealthcare Cost Estimator, the tool is available for anyone to use. Non-customers may use a guest service to receive basic estimates for different services. A free mobile app, called Health4Me, is available for anyone to use.

One's choice in healthcare professionals is of vital importance. By choosing higher quality healthcare services, health outcomes can improve dramatically. Having the best healthcare is great, but one might think that it can be more expensive. This is actually untrue, as using a premium designated healthcare provider can, in fact lead to savings. As a matter of fact, price seems to have very little to do with the quality of services in the healthcare field, as little correlation has been found between high prices and better outcomes. This recent study shows that myHealthcare Cost Estimator has been doing an excellent job at assisting consumers in finding those providers who can help keep them in good health without emptying their wallets.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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