Business Journal: Insurance Company Launches New Site
A new Web site could help Aetna Health Insurance members compare hospital costs. But some question if the pricing is more complicated than the site lets on.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Depending on which hospital in Sacramento you pick to deliver your child, you could end up paying an extra $11,000. That’s the kind of information health insurer Aetna is unveiling on a Web site it launched last month. The site is designed to break down and compare costs of specific procedures at hospitals across the region. While the site shows physician charges are fairly consistent, there are huge variations in costs for procedures, with some hospitals charging bargain prices for one surgery and top dollar for another.
Some sources say the approach is simplistic and might not be accurate. Statistics, they say, are easy to manipulate. For this reason, Sutter hospitals decided not to participate. Kaiser Permanente hospitals aren’t included, either, because they are their own health care system.