State offers Utah Health Cost Compare to find best values

Recently, the State Auditor’s office released the Utah Health Cost Compare, an online system allowing for easy comparison of the cost of a variety of health care procedures from different providers across Utah.

State Auditor John Dougall said consumers can access the service at healthcost.utah.gov.

“For example, today you might go off and see a strep test, a test for a strep infection. And you will find out the test is anywhere from $5 to $124, depending on the provider,” Dougal explained. “The average statewide cost is $15. And so if you are a smart consumer, it’s the same kind of test. You can then shop around to get a better price, a better value for that test.”

He said right now doctors and nurses, as they give referrals, often don’t know the costs of different procedures at different locations.

“Now they have a tool that they’ll be able to look at and we also hope that insurers will start looking to see what these prices are. Sometimes it’s a behind-the-scenes negotiation rather than a transparency, ‘here’s the going price.’

“When I talk about the going price, we’re not just talking about what you pay with your co-pay or deductible, what we’re analyzing is the total amount that is paid by the patient as well as by the insurer.”

Dougall said over 100 healthcare procedures across the state are included in the initial rollout of Utah Health Cost Compare. More procedures will be added over time.

The creation of Utah Health Cost Compare began in late 2018 and was supported in early 2019 by legislation sponsored and championed by Utah State Representative Brad Daw of Orem.

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