A start-up company, Castlight Health, is building a search engine to allow consumers to price shop for doctors and services.
An article in the New York Times reports that the lack of price information in health care has been a factor in increasing health care costs because costs are unknown to the patients and paid for by insurance. Patients have no incentive to keep costs down. But this is changing as many employers are now using health plans that require patients to pay more for their health care.
Several studies suggest that when patients know more about price, they are more likely to save. Castlight is planning to add quality measurements to its price information.
(Sources: Competitive News Brief, Partners HealthCare, June 14, 2010; New York Times, http://nytimes.com, June 10, 2010)