Shopping for Health Care? New Journalism Series Highlights The Real Cost of Medical Services

PriceCheck tool to help New Orleanians

Shopping for Health Care? New Journalism Series Highlights The Real Cost of Medical Services

The Times-Picayune/FOX 8 Partnership Allows Consumers to Compare Prices and Providers in Real Time

NEW ORLEANS, LA – People shopping for health care services in the Greater New Orleans area now have an easy-to-use, real-time tool to help them compare prices on common procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests. Found online at NOLA.com and FOX8Live.com, the PriceCheck tool allows users to see exactly what each health care service provider charges for a specific need.

The tool is at the heart of a journalism project called “Cracking The Code: The Real Cost of Health Care,” produced jointly by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, WVUE FOX 8 News and ClearHealthCosts.com, a New York-based health cost transparency company. The ongoing project, which debuted April 5, 2017, invites readers to anonymously share incurred health costs using their Explanation of Benefits (EOB) so that others seeking the same services can compare prices.

“A 2016 Gallup poll found that the cost of health care was the top financial concern for Americans,” said Mark Lorando, Editor of The Times-Picayune and Vice-President of Content for NOLA.com. “But it’s often impossible for consumers to figure out how much their medical  tests, treatments and services really cost. Working together with our readers to collect and analyze data, we hope to change that and show  patients how they can be more in control of their care.”

Award-winning FOX 8 Investigative Reporter Lee Zurik has worked for months compiling stories from people in our area who simply cannot afford basic health care.  He’s excited about the “Cracking the Code” project, not only because it sheds light on this ever-increasing problem, but it will truly serve to help people in the greater New Orleans area.  More and more people have very high deductibles. We want to learn why, and let viewers know that they have options when choosing service providers,” he said.

Here’s how it works: Consumers will anonymously share information about the costs and quality of their health care services.  These prices, procedures and location information will be available to all PriceCheck users so they can compare costs. This information is at the heart of “Cracking the Code: The Real Price of Health Care,” as it allows The Times-Picayune and WVUE FOX 8 News to report on health care costs and financial experiences in the community with greater accuracy.

The Times-Picayune and WVUE FOX 8 News are the latest news partners of ClearHealthCosts.com in this initiative, joining KQED in Northern Calif., KPCC in Los Angeles and WHYY in Philadelphia. Their reporting may be followed at www.nola.com/health and www.fox8live.com/health.

WVUE FOX 8 News is committed to providing in-depth investigative stories that affect change. Owned by Raycom Media, FOX 8 leads New Orleans, Louisiana, the state and the region in the field of broadcast investigative journalism. On-air, on-line or on your mobile device, FOX 8 and FOX8live.com are dedicated to delivering impactful journalism to our community. For more, visit FOX8live.com.

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune are part of  NOLA Media Group, the largest media company in Louisiana. With the 180-year tradition of journalistic excellence of The Times-Picayune and the up-to-the-minute information of NOLA.com, our reporting reaches an audience of 7 million unique readers each month via a variety of innovative platforms.

ClearHealthCosts.com is a New York City company bringing transparency to the health-care marketplace by telling people what stuff costs. Using a combination of shoe-leather journalism, database sourcing and curation, crowdsourcing and partnering, ClearHealthCosts is revealing the secrets of an opaque marketplace, and seeking to help solve one of the biggest problems we face as a nation. For more, visit clearhealthcosts.com.