Price Data Solicitation Grant: Impact of Price Transparency Tools on Consumer Behavior

The researchers evaluated the effects of the Aetna Member Payment Estimator (MPE), a web-based transparency tool that provides personalized, real-time, service-level estimates of consumer out-of-pocket and total costs for over 500 common, non-emergent services to Aetna enrollees. The researchers used enrollment, eligibility, and other MPE data, as well as data from the Area Resource File to (1) analyze the characteristics of members who used and did not use the MPE; (2) analyze the impact of the MPE on provider choice, out-of pocket spending and total spending; and (3) identify patient, plan and health care service characteristics associated with greater use of the MPE. The goal of this project was to inform ongoing and future price transparency policies, including the use of consumer information tools.

This project was funded as part of the Foundation’s solicitation “Understanding the Use and Impact of Price Data in Health Care,” which supports empirical research studies that contribute to the knowledge base in this area, with the goal of providing reliable and generalizable evidence to inform policymakers and delivery system participants and to help accelerate progress toward using price information effectively.