Massachusetts residents can now search a new website to compare the cost and quality of care at different hospitals, part of an ambitious state plan to help control healthcare costs by giving consumers more information.
The site, www.mass.gov/myhealthcareoptions, gives consumers access to previously confidential information about how much insurers pay individual hospitals for surgical procedures such as knee and hip replacements and for treating illnesses such as pneumonia. It also allows comparisons of patient satisfaction ratings and patient safety measures at different hospitals.
The website was required as part of the state's mandatory health insurance law. More than 442,000 people have enrolled in health insurance programs since 2006, and Massachusetts now has the smallest percentage of uninsured adults in the country, but the cost of the subsidized insurance is rising fast.
(SOURCE: The Boston Globe, http://boston.com, December 11, 2008)