Over the last decade, New Hampshire has pioneered health care price transparency to support cost-conscious consumer behavior and, ultimately, to spur competition and increase efficiency among health care providers. In 2003, the state mandated one of the nation's first all-payer claims databases to collect provider pricing information. Using the claims data, the state in 2007 launched NHHealthCost.org, a public website providing median bundled prices — both facility and physician payments — for about 30 common, mostly outpatient, services. (As of April 2014, the website is temporarily unavailable as data conversion issues are being resolved.)
The report looks at the steps taken in New Hampshire and how they have affected health care markets across the state. Based on interviews with a broad range of health care stakeholders and experts, the research found a wide belief within the state's medical and policy communities that the transparency efforts were important in highlighting wide gaps in provider prices — particularly between hospital outpatient departments and freestanding facilities, but also among different hospitals. However, the analysis also shows that consumer use of NHHealthCost.org has been modest and that the program did not fulfill a primary goal of directly encouraging consumer price-shopping.
The research was a joint project of the California HealthCare Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The complete report is available under Document Downloads.