Your Health

A Simple Phone Call Can Lead to Savings and Cash

State of NH employees and members continue to use the Compass SmartShopper program to earn incentives and lower healthcare costs.  This May, over 250 employees earned over $17,000 in incentive rewards resulting in over $100,000 in savings. Still many employees have not found out how simple and effective the Compass SmartShopper program can be…just a 2 minute phone call or a few clicks online can earn you up to $500 for select medical procedures.

As part of the continuing engagement strategy to lower healthcare costs and protect health benefits, the State of NH and the SEA is partnering with Compass to support mailings to those members who COULD have shopped with Compass but did not
Beginning this month, Compass will begin to mail letters to select members of the Anthem medical plan who had a service that was eligible for an incentive under the SmartShopper program but the member did not contact Compass prior to the service
This approach is intended to educate those employees and members  on the benefits of this program  who may not realize or remember their ability to use the service
As always, Compass, the State of NH  and the SEA are committed to maintaining employee privacy and confidentiality and no communications will disclose specific medical services
This approach is supported by the State of NH Health Benefits Committee (HBC) comprised of both State of New Hampshire and SEA representatives
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Compass at 800-824-9127.

Medical Coverage Shopping

If you need an MRI and you pay a portion of your medical costs, you might want to know where to go to get the service you need at a reasonable price. While it may be true that ‘your insurance covers it,” it might do both you and the insurance company some good if cost saving measures were taken. After all, in the end, we all want affordable healthcare.

Shopping for quality and affordable healthcare is getting easier in New Hampshire thanks to a couple of health care shopper services that actually look at itemized services and compare costs with healthcare providers around the state.

Two of the most used services are Tandem Care which works with Harvard Pilgrim and Compass SmartShopper which is affiliated with Anthem plans.

Both of these companies provide information on where to find high quality, low cost facilities that provide specific health care procedures. There’s a financial incentive for doing a little homework and comparison shopping. If you consult with the service about your specific medical need and they provide you with a low cost provider, you could receive a cash incentive from $50 to $250 for going the least expensive route.

For people who don’t have health insurance, the state offers a website for folks to comparison shop via www. You may be shocked to find the wide range of prices across the state for simple procedures. For instance, the price of the MRI for a knee at Dartmouth in Lebanon costs approximately $4,135 while the same service costs $1,450 at Derry Imaging. A visit to the emergency room at Concord Hospital runs approximately $2,073 while at Catholic Medical Center it is only $980.

Ned Helms, Director of the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice at UNH says the difference in cost is largely driven by hospitals and insurance companies.

“The reason people are charged differently is because each of the hospitals negotiate differently with the carriers and each hospital has different goals they set on the margins they need to operate,” said Helms. “They then come up with a strategy for what they will charge for one service or another.”

To do your own comparison shopping and to learn more about healthcare and what it costs around the state, there are several websites worth researching.

NH Health Cost –
Tandem Care –
Compass SmartShopper –
Healthcare Bluebook – – this site works like Kelly bluebook it gives the fair market value of procedures by zip code.

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