Treatment cost advisor tools: Estimate expenses before you choose care

When you make a purchase, whether you’re buying a gallon of milk or a new car, you know what something costs before you buy it. But understanding the cost of healthcare up front isn’t as easy. Too often, you don’t know how much healthcare costs until you receive a bill from a provider or a statement from your health plan. Fortunately, most health plans offer treatment cost estimators and other tools that help you calculate your costs before you receive medical care.

The price you pay for healthcare depends on a number of factors, including the specifics of your coverage and your out-of-pocket costs. That’s why it’s important to understand the deductible, copayment, and coinsurance for your health plan. Each plan also has a network of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. When you receive care from an in-network doctor or hospital, you usually pay a lower price. If you go out of the network, your out-of-pocket costs will typically be higher.

Look up healthcare cost estimates online

APWU Health Plan offers tools to help High Option members and Consumer Driven Option members estimate costs before receiving medical care.

Treatment cost advisor tools for High Option members

For the High Option plan, the My Tools section of your member website includes tools to help you become an informed healthcare consumer:

  • The Treatment Cost Advisor lets you estimate your costs for hundreds of common conditions, procedures, tests, and healthcare visits.
  • The Hospital Quality Ratings Guide allows you to look up quality ratings and reviews for hospitals in your plan’s network.

Treatment cost estimator tools for Consumer Driven Option members

As a Consumer Driven Option member, you can find and compare costs using online tools from UnitedHealthcare. View cost estimates anytime, 24/7, to help you make more informed decisions and find ways to save.

  • Compare average costs for providers in your network, including doctors, hospitals, office visits, mental health services, labs, and convenience care
  • See the average cost for specific treatments in your area
  • Look up quality ratings and reviews by provider, hospital, or facility

The tools allow you to search for costs by:

  • Service—like a vaccine or x-ray
  • Condition or symptom—like a sore throat or sports injury
  • Doctor, hospital, or facility—find a preferred or nearby provider

To access the Treatment Cost Estimator and get the most accurate cost estimates for your plan, log in to® or visit the My Tools section of your member website. You can see how much your plan is expected to pay and look up network providers to review costs and quality ratings.

Ask for a good faith estimate from your healthcare provider

If you are uninsured or pay for healthcare yourself, ask for a good faith estimate before you receive care. Healthcare providers and facilities must give you an estimate of expected charges if you request one.

The estimate should include charges for the primary service you’re receiving, along with a list of all items and services associated with your care. In some instances, the estimate may not include items or services another healthcare provider or facility will deliver.

If you have questions about the estimate, ask the provider or facility to explain the expected charges to you.

Take advantage of free tools to help you estimate healthcare costs ahead of time

Several organizations offer tools that help you estimate the costs of medical services, review hospital ratings, and make more informed healthcare decisions.

Consumer Health Ratings lets you estimate healthcare costs for common services like outpatient surgery, ER visits, maternity care, and doctor’s office visits. You’ll find a comprehensive list of organizations that rate the performance of hospitals, health plans, physicians, nursing homes, home health agencies, and other healthcare providers.

Fair Health Consumer is an independent, national nonprofit organization that provides neutral information to help consumers understand healthcare costs and brings transparency to health insurance.

Clear Health Costs is a New York City-based organization that uses data journalism, investigative reporting, and crowdsourcing to bring transparency to the healthcare marketplace.

Uncertainty about the cost of healthcare can make it difficult to plan your household budget. Knowing what you will be expected to pay for care in advance is more important than ever. Checking cost estimates before you choose where to get care can help you save on healthcare and get the most from your health benefits.