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Oregon: Health insurers now provide personalized cost estimates

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Oregonians, with health insurance, can now find out in advance how much their next doctor visit, diagnostic test or other common medical procedure will cost. A state law passed in 2007 requires insurance companies to give their members estimates of what they will have to pay out of their own pockets for common medical procedures as of July 1, and must be provided both through an interactive Web site and a toll-free number.

Insurers must provide estimates for the five most common procedures in each of these categories: office visits, radiology, laboratory, uncomplicated birth, immunizations, orthopedics and digestive system endoscopy. Consumers also will be able to compare costs among doctors. This will show the co-pay, deductible and other non-covered amounts for each doctor selected.

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