SOURCE: Amino

Amino

July 12, 2016 09:00 ET

Amino Unveils Free Personalized Cost Estimates for Nearly 50 Medical Procedures to Help Americans Navigate Health Care Costs

People Can Now Compare Costs for Doctors in Their Area, Calculate How Much They Might Pay With Their Insurance, and Book an Appointment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 12, 2016) - Amino, a consumer health care company, today announced that Americans can now find health care costs for 49 medical services or procedures, compare cost differences in their region, and estimate what they might pay for experienced doctors based on their insurance -- all for free. Amino's cost estimates are produced by analyzing hundreds of millions of medical insurance claims, totaling $860 billion within the last year. Cost estimates can be found across 550,000 doctors and 129 insurance companies through Amino's "Find a Doctor" service and its new "Estimate Costs" research tools.

"Everyone deserves to know the facts that make a difference in health care, often our largest and most important investment each year, but gaining access to pricing information has proven incredibly difficult. Industry efforts at price transparency have missed the mark," said David Vivero, CEO and co-founder of Amino. "We've spent months surveying health care consumers and looking into the digital paper trail of health care within our database to help people answer not only 'where can I get care?' but also 'how much will this cost?' Knowing what's been billed for specific procedures and specific doctors gives everyone confidence in a world where it's nearly impossible to find out how much you'll owe, until you get the bill weeks later."

Amino's cost estimates are comprehensive and personalized, helping people prepare for the financial impact of medical care. People looking to estimate the cost of a certain procedure using Amino's new tools can view regional cost differences via an interactive map, and further personalize their search by adding their insurance company. From there, they can use an out-of-pocket cost calculator to estimate what they might expect to pay. Cost estimates are also available for people searching for doctors on Amino, permitting them to see cost estimates in the context of an individual doctor's experience, quality measures and more. When ready, people can book appointments online through Amino for free. While cost estimates are most accurate for people with private insurance, anyone can use them as a point of reference.

Amino's cost estimates are based on the company's insurance claims database, which shows the dollar amounts health insurance companies have paid care providers for select procedures and services in the recent past. The company has been working for months to clean up the data, create sophisticated models for filling data gaps, ensure validity through multiple quality checks, and group costs into complete patient-centered episodes of care, totaling more than 64 million cost estimates. For more about Amino's cost estimates methodology, visit amino.com/about/science/cost-estimates/.

"It's clear that greater availability of data on providers can not only help consumers make better choices, but also foster accountability among providers," said Ashish Jha, Faculty Director at the Harvard Global Health Institute and Professor at Harvard School of Public Health. "Amino's data-driven approach to health care transparency, and in particular its examination into the quality and costs of care, shows promise as a way to reveal high value care for consumers and providers alike."

Amino launched in October 2015 to help everyone make confident decisions about their health care, starting with the doctors they choose. Amino has since been refining its service and expanding its unprecedented database with new and richer sources. The company was recently certified by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to use national, physical level Medicare data as the first for-profit "Qualified Entity," and it has also formed a Consensus Based Entity (CBE) approved by CMS to define new standards in health care quality measurement aimed at helping people make better health care decisions.

"The American healthcare system delivers miracles, but it also produces care of variable quality and backbreaking costs," said Robert Wachter, MD, interim chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a scientific advisor to Amino. "Part of the solution, undoubtedly, will be transparency: giving patients the information they need to make informed choices about the best doctor for their condition, and the best value. Amino is now offering patients an easy to use and robust tool that will help them make the best choices for medical care, for themselves and their family members."

In the coming months Amino will roll out more health care cost estimates, as well as continually improve accuracy and the underlying methodology. To this end, Amino welcomes feedback from patients, doctors, and the industry -- individuals can reach out directly on doctor profiles. The company will also be bringing in new data sources as part of its ongoing efforts to help paint a clear picture of American health care.

For more information about today's announcement, visit www.amino.com/cost.

About Amino: Amino aims to connect everyone to the best health care possible. Powered by a comprehensive database that includes nearly every practicing doctor in America and experiences from more than 188 million patients, Amino's service empowers people to make confident decisions about where to get care. Using Amino, everyone can find experienced doctors, estimate health care costs, and book appointments -- all for free. The company is based in San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, Rock Health, and notable individual investors.

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