How ClearHealthCosts Helped New Orleans Newsrooms Save Money for Readers

“During a 2013 Morning Edition broadcast, Brian Lehrer and Soterios Johnson asked female listeners to complete a survey on the WNYC website on the cost of routine mammograms,” Bianca Fortis writes about us over at MediaShift, the destination site for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology.  “The appeal was part of a collaboration with ClearHealthCosts, a website founded by former New York Times journalist Jeanne Pinder. ‘People laughed at us,’ Pinder said. ‘They said ‘nobody’s going to get on air and talk about their breasts.’ Nearly 400 women had submitted surveys, and the results were surprising. Throughout the New York City metropolitan area, residents were charged anywhere from nothing to more than $2,000 for a routine screening. In some cases, costs for the uninsured were lower than for individuals with insurance. Four years later, ClearHealthCosts is still collecting and analyzing data. Its goal is straightforward: tell people what stuff costs in health care. And after ClearHealthCosts collaborated with two New Orleans newsrooms, readers reported saving hundreds to thousands of dollars — true impact. ClearHealthCosts has partnered with a number of local news outlets throughout the country to crowdsource data and publish stories. Pinder said, ‘Their local ties give us access to really dive deep in the local area. It really proves the value of local journalism. We’ve somehow begun to forget how important local news is. It has immense promise and we disregard it at our peril.’ In February, she began working with the Nola.com/The Times-Picayune and WVUE FOX 8 Live in New Orleans. Together, the three media outlets have collected more than 3,000 pieces of pricing information from readers and viewers throughout the area. This kind of collaboration is one that demonstrates amazing impact: readers report saving money, their stories get thousands of shares online, the Louisiana’s insurance commissioner called local billing practices ‘unconscionable’ and the work even drew the ire of the president of a local medical center.”  Bianca Fortis, “How ClearHealthCosts Helped New Orleans Newsrooms Save Money for Readers, MediaShift.