Price variation for medical procedures performed in both hospital outpatient departments and freestanding facilities has not decreased in New Hampshire since the state launched the HealthCost price transparency program in early 2007, according to new research jointly conducted by the New Hampshire Insurance Department and the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). New Hampshire stakeholders cited weak provider competition as the key reason for lack of impact. The state’s hospital market is geographically segmented in rural areas and has few competitors even in urban areas. In addition, few consumers have strong incentives to shop based on price: Only 5 percent of the state’s privately insured residents were enrolled in highdeductible plans in 2007. However, some observers suggested that HealthCost—along with other state price transparency initiatives—has helped to focus employer and policy maker attention on provider price differences and has caused some hospitals to moderate their demands for rate increases.
New Hampshire Insurance Department
Ha Tu, Senior Researcher at Mathematica Policy Research
Rebecca Gourevitch, Research Assistant at Mathematica Policy Research
Lauer, J., and Tu, H., Impact of Health Care Price Transparency on Price Variation: The New Hampshire Experience, November 2009.