Washington state has launched a new website: HealthCareCompare, which helps residents find affordable, high-quality health care. If you or a loved one needed knee replacement surgery, would you want to know which surgeon in your community has the highest rating for quality of care? Would you like to know how much a knee replacement costs, on average, at all of the medical offices close to your home? These are the types of questions HealthCareCompare could answer for you.
The user-friendly website is part of the state’s larger effort to make health care costs more transparent, and gives the public access to health care price and quality information from the Washington All-Payer Claims Database. The database is the result of legislation proposed by the governor.
Currently, 20 states have databases, but Washington is one of only six states making such data easily accessible online. Washington’s database collects claims information from a wide variety of insurance and health care companies. Using the tool is as easy as searching by procedure or treatment and entering a ZIP code to find cost comparisons. For information on health care quality, users can search for ratings for a particular medical office or hospital.
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said the added transparency provided by HealthCareCompare could help make health insurance more affordable.
The database will also be a valuable tool for health plan managers, consumer advocates, hospitals, physician organizations, business leaders and policymakers, who can use the site to check cost and quality performance across the state.