Expectant Mothers are Most Frequent Health Care Shoppers in Pacific Northwest

December 10, 2014 – Portland, OR – HealthSparq today released data from its health care shopping solution that shows the most frequent shoppers in health care are not just women, who are known leaders in health care*, but expecting mothers.

“We’re seeing expecting mothers use information on the cost and quality of medical procedures that’s never been available to them before to make informed decisions about where and how to have their children,” said HealthSparq President Scott Decker.

In the latest report from HealthSparq, the most frequently searched medical treatments by Pacific Northwest residents were related to labor and delivery. Women conducted eighty percent of these searches.

In Oregon, Washington, Utah and Idaho, ‘vaginal birth’ and ‘c-section’ ranked among the top-five cost estimates pulled by HealthSparq users, with the no. 1 estimate, ‘vaginal birth,’ pulled 2.16 times more often than the second most popular term.

“Until now, people have had to make health care decisions fairly blindly. Today, expecting mothers can actually shop for their doctors,” said Decker. “With labor and delivery varying between $9,485 and $25,254 in Oregon alone, shopping can make a huge difference.”

Shopping often results in upfront savings, which can later be directed toward the cost of raising children. Additionally, through HealthSparq, people can compare the quality ratings of their doctors to determine the best location for a procedure.

“To further cost savings, we encourage people to begin to see health care shopping tools as day-to-day companions,” said Torben Nielsen, General Manager of HealthSparq. “Smaller procedures like x-rays, chiropractic care and allergy tests, have significant pricing gaps that can add up over time.”

*The price ranges in the table above have been individually selected from a pool of data provided by Regence, a leading insurer in Oregon, Washington, Utah and Idaho. The prices are intended to illustrate a gap that presents cost savings opportunities, and some variation in price is expected due to the way services are billed at the provider level and changes in the actual cost of services since the data was pulled.

HealthSparq cost estimates are based upon comprehensive sets of claims data from 67 health plans across the nation, which together reach over 78 million lives.

The ability to compare prices, provider and treatment options, was a significant benefit to Megan Boyd, an expecting mother and user of HealthSparq tools through her insurance plan.

“During maternity leave, I want to focus on being a mom, not surprise medical bills,” said Megan. “Using the HealthSparq shopping tools, I saw the actual costs of treatments I’ll need, adjusted for what my benefits will cover, presented on a helpful timeline. Getting this information early made it easy to plan and save enough to cover my medical expenses upfront. By paying my bill in full, I’m even able to get a 5 percent discount at my hospital.”