Moving Markets: Lessons from New Hampshire's Health Care Price Transparency Experiment

Issue Brief
Publisher: Oakland, CA: California HealthCare Foundation and Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Apr 30, 2014
Authors
Ha Tu and Rebecca Gourevitch
  • Although state transparency initiatives did not directly alter consumers' behavior, they have helped change health care market dynamics in important ways.
  • By highlighting wide provider price gaps within the state, New Hampshire's transparency initiatives increased pressure on high-price hospitals to lower their rate demands and accelerated a statewide trend toward new insurance products that reward consumers for choosing efficient providers.

 

This report examines efforts by New Hampshire state government over the past decade to use health care price transparency—notably through the creation of HealthCost, a public website comparing costs of median health care bundled prices—to encourage cost-conscious behavior by consumers and increase competition and efficiency among health care providers. The study found that although state transparency initiatives did not directly alter consumers' behavior, they have helped change health care market dynamics in important ways. By highlighting wide provider price gaps within the state, New Hampshire's transparency initiatives increased pressure on high-price hospitals to lower their rate demands and accelerated a statewide trend toward new insurance products that reward consumers for choosing efficient providers.