February 25, 2015 – The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization, announced today the introduction of guroo.com, a consumer-focused website that provides national, state and local cost information for common health conditions and services using claims from multiple insurers for more than 40 million insured individuals – numbers that no one else has. The new website is free and accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they have insurance or who their insurer is.

Contact:
Janet Firshein, 301-280-5701, jfirshein@burness.com

Bethanne Fox, 301-448-7411, bfox@burness.com

Brandon Skop, 212-885-0462, brandon.skop@hkstrategies.com

 

Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) Launches Guroo – To Provide Consumers With Free Access To A Health Care Transparency Tool


New website, guroo.com, provides consumers with information to facilitate more informed health care decisions

Washington D.C. – The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization, announced today the introduction of guroo.com, a consumer-focused website that provides national, state and local cost information for common health conditions and services using claims from multiple insurers for more than 40 million insured individuals – numbers that no one else has. The new website is free and accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they have insurance or who their insurer is. Guroo was created with the goal of giving consumers information on the costs and quality of health care so they can make more informed choices about how they spend their health care dollars.

The introduction of guroo.com sets the stage for more to come in 2015. HCCI envisions additional enhancements to the website such as more health care price information, quality information, a Spanish-language version and prescription costs. For consumers whose insurers partner with HCCI (which is open to all insurers on equal terms), more detailed information, including expected out-of-pocket expenses and provider quality measures, are being planned for the future.

“For many consumers, shopping for health care doesn’t feel like an option – it’s simply too complicated. Guroo intends to change this by showing consumers they can shop for health care and elect where they spend their health care dollars,” said David Newman, Executive Director of HCCI. “With rising prices and more consumers enrolled in high-deductible health plans, consumers are eager to get the best value out of every dollar they spend on health care.”

Why Guroo?
In recent years, health care costs have increased faster than wages and health spending is projected to continue to grow – estimated at 6% per year through 2023. Consumers need clear and accurate information now more than ever, as out-of-pocket spending also continues to rise. Through HCCI’s transparency initiative, consumers will have access to health information that they can use when choosing a doctor or a seeking treatment. Consumers can learn about conditions, including the common progression or likely steps of their care, what to expect and how to prepare for their doctor visit. The information guroo.com provides is based on data that allows reporting at the national, state and local level for a variety of procedures and tests relevant to consumers’ health care needs.

Cost estimates are calculated from HCCI’s comprehensive health insurance claims dataset, which includes anonymous claims data on more than 40 million people nationwide, making it one of the largest public consumer datasets. The claims data are from some of the nation’s leading health insurance companies. Currently, Aetna, Assurant Health, Humana and UnitedHealthcare are involved in the initiative. All health care payers are invited to join the initiative and other insurers are expected to join in 2015. Broad stakeholder participation will encourage greater consumer engagement. HCCI also anticipates partnering with states engaged in all payer claims databases (APCD) initiatives as they work to provide price and quality transparency information.

What Can Guroo Do for Consumers?
Using health insurance claims data, guroo.com will launch with estimated costs for more than 70 common health services such as childbirth, knee pain, an MRI or a physician office visit. Future releases will significantly increase the set of schedulable, discretionary, shoppable services consumers can research. Similarly, consumers and health care stakeholders can compare costs across different locations to identify geographic areas where services are most affordable. These estimates are based on actual amounts paid to providers by insurers and consumers.

  • A search reveals the national cost estimate for one type of knee MRI is $681 compared to the statewide average cost in Wisconsin of $1,912 and the local cost of $2,511 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Guroo.com is consumer friendly and presents cost information in a unique manner using care bundles and steps rather than difficult to understand procedure codes. The website summarizes the steps of care when appropriate and shows the cost of each step. Guroo.com also provides consumers with questions they can use when talking with their health care provider to better understand their choices and help achieve a quality health outcome.

Although guroo.com was designed specifically for consumers, HCCI recognizes that this website will also be valuable to employers, policy makers, and regulators who can now assess prices and how costs compare nationally and locally. HCCI is currently not aware of any other resource that contains this much data and offers this service.

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About the Health Care Cost Institute

The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) is an independent, non-profit organization with a public-interest mission. Launched in 2011, HCCI is now a leader in research and reporting on health care expenditures and utilization. HCCI holds data for over 50 million covered lives from the privately insured population and Medicare Advantage resulting in one of the most comprehensive claims datasets in the country. In addition, HCCI is the first national Qualified Entity (QE) entitled to hold Medicare data for the 50 million individuals covered by the program. For more information, visit www.healthcostinstitute.org or follow us on Twitter @healthcostinst.

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