Health benefits vendor WellPoint decided to find out if consumer choices in medical care could be influenced by help with comparison shopping. The answer it got was a resounding yes.

In a release, WellPoint described the "education program" one of its subsidiaries, AIM Specialty Health, developed for plan members. WellPoint commissioned a study of these plan members to determine if an informed consumer would alter behavior in making a specific medical care decision.

The program "makes health plan members aware of MRI imaging costs and proactively shares relevant information about alternative providers close to the member's home." The study analyzed data from of 61,000 members WellPoint health plans in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast, and focused on their selection of an MRI provider.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.