Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is expanding the capabilities of an Internet tool to help consumers – even non-BCBS customers – to compare medical procedure costs and quality.

The aim is to give consumers “get more bang for their health care buck.”

The database includes cost of more than 1,200 non-emergency procedures. It also providers across the state that BCBSNC says represents more than 80 percent of all non-emergency health care costs.

Consumers are asked at the website to:

  • Enter a treatment or service
  • Their location
  • And to set a search range in miles

BCBCNC has tripled the number of procedures consumers can research with the tool, which originally launched in 2012.

The site can be found at:

“We’re working to take the mystery out of health care by providing cost information about more than 1,200 procedures,” says BCBSNC’s CEO Brad Wilson. “This information will help consumers get more bang for their health care buck.”

The expanded tool was unveiled Wednesday.

Citing a study (Eliminating Waste in US Health Care, Journal of the American Medical Association), BCBSNC says the “lack of transparency” in healthcare procedure pricing “drives up the cost of care by more than $100 billion each year.”

As an example of what comparison shopping will find, BCBCNC noted that costs of a knee replacement in the Triangle varies as much as $15,000 based on the hospital a consumer chooses.

Additional pricing information based on health plan coverage is available to BCBSNC customers through Blue Connect, its customer web portal.