A new study uses claims data to document the wide variation in pricing for preventive care in a single geographical region.

Change Healthcare, a vendor of software that gives employers views of pricing information in their regions to save money on care and prescriptions, conducted the study. In analyzing claims data over four years, the company has found that charges for pharmacy, medical and dental services within an employer’s network often can vary by more than 300 percent.

In the new study, the company did a 12-month retrospective analysis of claims data from an employer client with 15,000 health plan members in the same geographic area and with the same benefits. It found:

* Type 2 diabetes screening of adults with high blood pressure cost $51 to $437, a 755 percent difference;

* Pap smears for women age 21 and older cost $131 to $476, a 264 percent difference;

* A mammography exam for women age 50 and older cost $169 to $403, a 138 percent difference;

* A colonoscopy for adults age 50 and over cost $786 to $1,819, a difference of 132 percent; and

* Lipid panels (cholesterol test) for men age 35 and over, women age 45 and over, and younger adults at risk cost $117 to $374, a difference of 219 percent.

The study is available here.

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