NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FAIR Health, the leading independent data company that serves the healthcare system through data tools and educational resources, today announced the introduction of cost information for medical supplies, equipment and services such as ambulance transportation to the estimates of professional fees available through its consumer website. FAIR Health is adding to its Consumer Cost Lookup tool the charges for a subset of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes that providers and insurers use to represent such services and equipment. Available to consumers at no charge through www.fairhealthconsumer.org, FAIR Health’s award-winning website, this new feature enables consumers to obtain a more comprehensive estimate of their healthcare expenses in their own geographic area.
“The integration of cost estimates for items and services billed by HCPCS codes was the natural next step in advancing the consumer experience on the website,” said Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health. “Making these data accessible puts consumers in an even stronger position to plan and manage the costs associated with their care by giving them a more complete picture of those costs.”
HCPCS codes are used in the healthcare industry—including on the medical bills and Explanation of Benefits (EOB) forms patients receive—to designate medical supplies and equipment. For instance, bandages and gauze used to treat a patient with a wound after surgery are billed using HCPCS codes. Items needed in conjunction with care and health conditions—such as ambulance transportation, wheelchairs, walkers, diabetes supplies, nebulizers, vision supplies and hearing aids—are similarly designated by HCPCS codes.
With the ability to estimate and understand additional costs incurred in connection with their care, patients are well-equipped to plan for their healthcare expenses and ask questions about their bills. Prior to receiving care, patients should consider addressing with their healthcare professionals and insurers both their fees and the additional costs for equipment and other services. They should:
- Ask the provider which services and items will be needed during and after the procedure. Then ask the insurance plan what is covered and what the patient out-of-pocket responsibility will be.
- If services and relevant items are not covered, or if care is provided by an out-of-network medical provider, ask whether there are lower-cost options. In some cases, used or rental equipment may be available.
- Use FAIR Health’s Consumer Cost Lookup to determine the typical costs in their geographic area and plan for those expenses.
- After receiving care, make sure to review codes on medical bills and EOB forms. In case of error, ask the provider to resubmit the claim to the insurer.
FAIR Health’s proprietary database consists of over 17 billion billed medical and dental procedures and represents 150 million covered lives. In addition to the Consumer Cost Lookup, the consumer website offers a series of educational articles, videos and a glossary of insurance terms to help consumers understand the healthcare insurance reimbursement system.
About FAIR Health
FAIR Health is a national, independent, not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to bring transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information through comprehensive data products, consumer resources and support of health services research. FAIR Health uses its database of billions of billed medical and dental services to power an award-winning free website (fairhealthconsumer.org) that enables consumers to estimate and plan their medical and dental expenditures. The website also offers clear, unbiased educational articles and videos about the healthcare insurance reimbursement system.
In addition to its consumer offerings, FAIR Health licenses data products to businesses, government agencies, healthcare providers and researchers. With its professional staff of experts in healthcare, statistics, technology and communications, FAIR Health strives to offer accurate, consistent and timely information to all stakeholders in the healthcare system. FAIR Health also offers educational material about healthcare costs and insurance in Spanish at consumidor.fairhealth.org. These tools also are available on a mobile app, available through the App Store and through Google Play.