A state website that helps people compare prices across healthcare facilities relaunched this week with an expanded library of medical procedures and new information on hospital-quality measures.
The new version of NHHealthCost.Org features 31 additional medical procedures, including physical therapy, behavioral health and chiropractic care. Cost estimates for 16 dental procedures are now available, as well as new information on the retail price of 65 brand-name and generic drugs.
The site also includes information on health insurance and an interactive tool to compare hospitals’ quality of care, cleanliness and customer satisfaction.
“Comparing medical costs can save New Hampshire residents hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars,” Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny said on a press call promoting the website’s new features. “Consumers should be aware that high medical costs don’t necessarily equal high quality care, and that lower costs does not mean that you’re sacrificing quality. For that matter, controlling medical costs will in fact ultimately help control your health insurance premiums.”
The pricing data is calculated using insurance claims data compiled through the New Hampshire Comprehensive Health Information System. A full explanation of the site’s methodology and how to make sense of the prices listed online can be found here.
The New Hampshire Insurance Department initially debuted NHHealthCost.org in 2007 with price information on a handful of frequently used medical procedures offered at New Hampshire health-care facilities.
The latest round of upgrades was funded by about $950,000 in federal grants aimed at spurring states to implement greater price transparency and other activities around healthcare costs, said Maureen Mustard, director of Health Care Analytics at the NH Insurance Department.
Some of the federal money has gone toward upgrades that aren’t yet reflected on the site, she said, but that will be rolled out in the months ahead.
“We continue to explore ways to improve the website and increase the number of searchable cost estimates available,” Mustard said. "And we always welcome feedback from users on what they’d like to see.”
The website has seen an average of 3,000 users per month over the last several years, according to the department.
That number has dipped recently while the upgrades were completed, Mustard said. But the department is hoping more people will use the site now that it’s been relaunched.