How four major payers compare on price transparency

Payers' price transparency files vary widely by size and number of billing codes, an analysis published in Health Affairs found. 

In the report, published May 25, David Muhlestein, PhD, chief research and innovation officer at Health Management Associates, compared price transparency files for the most common networks used by Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare. 

Mr. Muhlestein found Cigna and Humana had significantly larger file sizes than Aetna and UnitedHealthcare. 

"It is worth noting that as of early 2023, both Cigna and Humana have begun to produce files that are much smaller, although neither is as standardized as Aetna's or UnitedHealthcare's," Dr. Muhlestein wrote. 

Here's how four major payers compared on file size: 

Aetna
Unique billing codes: 66,169
Negotiated rates: 42.5 billion
Raw file size: 136 gigabytes 

Cigna
Unique billing codes: 2,412
Negotiated rates: 4 billion
Raw file size: 1.35 terabytes 

Humana
Unique billing codes: 25,057
Negotiated rates: 15.5 billion
Raw file size: 6.42 terabytes 

UnitedHealthcare 
Unique billing codes: 16,929
Negotiated rates: 4 billion 
Raw file size: 107 gigabytes


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