New App Aims to Bring Price Transparency to Medical, Dental Procedures

September 15, 2016
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

A new mobile phone app by a Connecticut nonprofit uses more than a decade of billing data to give consumers an idea of potential treatment costs.

A new, free mobile app has been released to help improve patients’ healthcare insurance literacy in the State of Connecticut. The company releasing the app,

FAIR Health

, says their goal is to provide more transparency in both dental and medical costs, and to increase Connecticut residents’ engagement in their own healthcare.

FAIR Health is a non-profit corporation that aims to boost patient understanding of the costs associated with healthcare.

The new app

allows users to estimate the region-specific costs of dental and medical services to make better informed decisions on where they choose to receive healthcare services. Patients are able to use the app regardless of whether they have dental or medical insurance, and it’s available for use in both English and Spanish. In addition to Connecticut, patients are able to look up estimated costs of office visits and procedures in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

FAIR Health gathers their estimated costs based on a database of over 21 billion claims for privately billed dental and medical procedures going back to the year 2002. The company receives its data from insurance payers that collectively insure more than 150 million consumers in the state’s private healthcare system.

In addition to price estimates for dental work and other medical procedures and office visits, FAIR Health provides consumers with glossaries of common healthcare terms that often appear on healthcare documents and bills. Healthcare resources, such as provider locator services and assistance for filing insurance appeals are also available through the company’s website. Educational articles on topics ranging from the fundamentals of insurance coverage to healthcare issues specific to Connecticut are also available at no cost.

The creation of the app was funded by the Connecticut Heath Foundation (CT Health), the state’s largest health philanthropic organization. FAIR Health is promoting its use through community-based organizations, health centers and health exchange navigators. There are also plans to develop targeted partnerships with Hispanic community organizations.

As Tiffany Donelson, Vice President of Program at CT Health, noted

, “having access to basic health information and pricing data is absolutely critical to advancing health equity in Connecticut. Now more than ever, it is essential to equip consumers with cost and other educational health resources so that they can make better healthcare decisions.”