Three major health insurance companies have agreed to publish their healthcare prices in a free online portal starting next year.
The unprecedented move is designed to boost transparency in the U.S. healthcare system, notorious for its hard-to-access and seemingly random prices.
Advocates hope public prices will lower healthcare costs over time as consumers make more informed choices in obtaining medical care and experts study pricing trends with greater ease.
The non-profit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) will create and administer the online portal in partnership with Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare.
Other insurers are expected to join the initiative soon, HCCI said.
“Consumers, employers and regulatory agencies will now have a single source of consistent, transparent health care information based on the most reliable data available, including actual costs, which only insurers currently have,” said HCCI Executive Director David Newman in a statement.
“Voluntarily making this information available will be of immeasurable value to consumers and other health system participants as they seek to manage the cost and quality of care,” Newman said.