Empire BlueCross BlueShield Takes AIM at Healthcare Costs
Innovative imaging program helps members spend less on high-quality services
July 25, 2012 – New York, NY – Empire BlueCross Blue Shield is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative program that offers members a choice in selecting high-quality and cost-effective imaging services. Using technology from AIM Specialty Health, this voluntary program will provide Empire members with information to help them compare the costs and quality of imaging services that their health care provider has recommended.
“This exciting project further reinforces our ongoing transparency initiatives,” noted Mark Wagar, president and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “The addition of AIM gives our members yet another way to receive the cost and quality information they need to make the best possible health care decisions for themselves and their families.”
Mr. Wagar added that the program, which began earlier this year, engages members seeking MRI or CT imaging services in the following New York counties: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
Once a referral is made for an MRI and/or CT scan by a physician to a specific facility, members will receive a call providing them information on other in-network facilities that offer the same imaging services, and how those facilities rank in terms of cost and quality so they can make an informed decision as to where they want to receive these services.
“The cost of advanced imaging procedures has increased in recent years, contributing to higher medical costs, “noted Dr. Scott Breidbart, chief medical officer, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “For example, the cost for MRI and CT scans can vary from $350 to $2,000, depending on the region where you live and the facility where a procedure is performed.” Dr. Breidbart added that members who pay a percentage of their care, as opposed to a co-payment, could end up spending hundreds of dollars more for a certain procedure depending on where it was performed.
“We strongly believe that our members deserve access to the right care at the right time and in the right setting, said Mr. Wagar. “We see this program as a valuable tool in helping our members make more informed health care decisions, and to become better stewards of their health care dollars.”.