This article accompanies Is the Price Right?
These are some vendors that offer healthcare-transparency products designed to help consumers obtain and compare prices for doctors, specialists and healthcare services.
Compass' SmartShopper program provides financial incentives to clients' employees for choosing healthcare providers rated as cost-effective. Employees must sign up for the SmartShopper program to be eligible.
Castlight Health offers tools that compare prices from medical providers within single health plans and specific geographic locations. It also provides quality-of-care information and tools designed to help employees understand their healthcare benefits, deductible levels and medical expenses as they're incurred.
Change Healthcare's Transparency Messenger uses a data-analysis process to "shop" for providers on employees' behalf and deliver personalized "Ways to Save Alerts" to their email or mobile phones. The information can be tailored to each employee's healthcare utilization, benefit plan and preferences regarding cost and quality.
Designed to be used by employees who receive healthcare benefits from their companies and consumers who are uninsured or paying for their own health insurance, the Healthcare Blue Book gives users the prices negotiated by insurers with providers, which are often significantly less than providers' "list" prices for services.