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NH Insurance Department Partners with Harvard Medical School to Help NH Residents Find Medical Cost Estimates

Concord, NH–The New Hampshire Insurance Department is partnering with Harvard Medical School to help New Hampshire residents find medical cost estimates. Funded by the Donoghue Foundation, the study will develop a Google Adwords campaign that will create additional website traffic to NHHealthCost.org. 

 “This project will help us to understand whether online advertising with Google Adwords can be an effective way to drive knowledge and help patients find more affordable options,” said Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH, an associate professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the lead researcher on the study. 

The work is underway, and Harvard researchers are moving forward in partnership with New York University and Freedman HealthCare, a Boston-based consulting firm.

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“We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Harvard Medical School and raise awareness of the NH HealthCost website,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner John Elias. “NH HealthCost empowers New Hampshire residents with actionable health care cost information before they go to see a doctor or other health care provider. It also allows consumers to better understand their health insurance benefits or what to do if they are uninsured.”

To improve the user experience of NH HealthCost website visitors, the Insurance Department has updated the cost and quality information on the NHHealthCost.org website.  The updated cost estimate rates are based on claims incurred between July 2016 and September 2017. This is the third significant update of the site in less than a year, and these updates will provide New Hampshire residents with improved access to the information they need when making healthcare decisions for their families.

In addition to the NH HealthCost cost and quality information, the Insurance Department has seen great interest from consumers in the NH HealthCost Guide to Health Insurance.  The NH Insurance Department has added new content and refined the interface to make finding information even easier.  This interface uses a simple question and answer approach to help consumers navigate their health insurance benefits or obtain health care, even if they are uninsured.

“Health insurance can be complicated and confusing,” said Jayme Simoes of Covering NH, a statewide effort by the New Hampshire Health Plan to help residents learn about the health insurance marketplace. “The NH HealthCost’s Guide to Health Insurance provides an important resource to answer consumers’ most pressing questions in ways that make sense and help them take action.”

New Hampshire residents need easy-to-find, simple information on providers in their communities. With this in mind, a list of facilities organized by geography is now readily accessible on the website, allowing consumers to find local healthcare services with cost estimates.          

Today’s enhancements are the latest in a series of updates based on feedback from site users including New Hampshire consumers and employers. In early 2018, the site was updated with a new feature that allows site visitors to simultaneously compare the cost and quality of health care facilities, making it easier than ever for consumers to choose high-value care.

In late 2017, the site added several features for small and large employers.

“Employers are struggling with the high cost of providing health benefits to their employees,” said Mike Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. “NHHealthCost.org gives employers a way to share information on the differences in healthcare costs and quality. It also offers resources for large and small employers to help them evaluate the value of their investments in health benefits.”

NHHealthCost.org uses paid claims data collected from New Hampshire’s health insurers to show insured and uninsured patients’ estimated costs on more than 100 medical services and dozens of dental procedures. Hospital quality datais provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission. The Employer Resources’health plan comparisons are based well-respected national organizations including the National Committee on Quality Assurance.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/insurance.