WellPoint tests prices, patients

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Price transparency may or may not be enough to motivate patients to choose lower-cost treatments.

The New York Times reports that although health insurer WellPoint found that patients chose cheaper locations to have MRIs when they were shown varying rates, it could not pinpoint why—the study does not explain if patients were motivated by the price tag or other factors like higher or lower co-pays, coinsurance or out-of-pocket costs.

The study did find that prices between locations narrowed during the two-year study, which means the openness may have been more of a pressure point for providers than it was for patients.

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