Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield wants to allow its members to shop around for healthcare in much the same way people use the Web to find good deals on airline tickets.
The health insurer, part of Indianapolis-based WellPoint, unveiled an Internet tool, available at anthem.com, that allows members to search what dozens of medical procedures cost at specific hospitals across central Indiana.
Just as a traveler wanting to go from Indianapolis to San Francisco may compare prices from United Airlines, Northwest Airlines and other carriers, a patient needing knee replacement may compare total costs at St. Francis, Community Health Network or other area hospitals.
According to the site, a normal Caesarean-section delivery of a baby at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville would cost $5,595 to $7,192, while that birth would cost $7,193 to $8,783 at St. Vincent in Indianapolis.
The Web tool, which is limited to Anthem members, offers cost information for 38 procedures and services. Price ranges include costs for the procedures themselves, along with related expenses, such as laboratory work, anesthesia and recovery room charges.
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