Highmark introduces Plan Cost Adviser site for consumers

PITTSBURGH Self-care may become easier to navigate.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, which represents 3.1 million lives, on Monday introduced a new tool to help consumers compare health plan options to choose one that best suits their needs.

“Choosing a health plan is often intimidating to consumers,” stated Kim Bellard, vice president of e-marketing and customer relationship management. “This is especially true now that consumers are more likely to be faced with not just increased cost-sharing but also various types of tax-preferred spending accounts, such as health savings accounts. The Plan Cost Advisor helps consumers model their estimated out-of-pocket spending for the different health plan options they may have.”

The Plan Cost Advisor is available to consumers on Highmark member Web sites.

To begin using the Plan Cost Advisor, consumers enter basic information about family, health conditions and health plan options. Plan Cost Advisor analyzes the information that is entered by the consumer and projects the next year’s medical spending for each health plan option with a breakdown for copays, deductibles and coinsurance.

The tool then shows consumers estimated out-of-pocket spending, taking into account any payroll contributions as well as any benefit cost-sharing for each health plan option entered. Plan Cost Advisor also helps users with HSAs or other spending accounts model the impacts of various contributions to the account.

“Highmark was a pioneer in giving consumers online tools to help them more effectively select the right health plan when we introduced BlueChoice in May 2000,” Bellard said. “Plan Cost Advisor further leverages our consumerism expertise and our health analytics capabilities to produce an additional way for consumers to have a greater hand in their health care decisions.”

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