Medica First Health Plan to Create Mobile App for Comparing Health Care Costs.

Innovation Alert!

Medica, a health insurance company headquartered in Minneapolis, became the first health plan to launch a mobile application to help consumers compare cost information for a variety of medical procedures. The app, based on the Web site MainStreetMedica.com, is available at the iPhone App Store.

In a press release, the carrier said it is making the mobile app available as the demand for consumer health information is exploding. According to an analysis published by Manhattan Research in February 2009, more than 10 million U.S. adults use mobile devices for health information. That’s not surprising as consumers are paying a greater share of their health care. Meanwhile, the trend toward better informed, empowered consumers helps promote market-based reforms and greater competition.

“MainStreetMedica.com is a proven resource for consumers who want to know how much a medical service or treatment will cost before they have a procedure,” said Rob Longendyke, Medica senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications.

“Until recently, consumers had little or no access to comparative information about physicians and hospitals. Without transparency like actual cost information, market forces can’t work. Given a level playing field, consumers will do to health care what they have done throughout the rest of the economy – make choices based on their values. Empowering consumers with the tools they need to make value-based decisions will stimulate health care to be more efficient, effective, affordable and accessible.”

Both the Main Street Medica mobile app and the Web site are available to all consumers, not just Medica members. iPhone users can also download the mobile app at: Medica.com.

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