How to use the Philly Health Costs database

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Action News has just launched a partnership with the Philadelphia Inquirer to create Philly Health Costs.

First, click here to open the Philly PriceCheck database.

When you scroll down you will see two columns, one to contribute prices and one to find prices. Clear Health Costs manages this database and urges everyone to add their experiences to make the database stronger.


Let's start with finding prices. If you know your 5-digit medical code, type that in and you will get the procedure you were prescribed.

If you don't have that code, start typing in the basic procedure. For example, search for MRI and then choose the selection that most represents your specific test, like "MRI, lower back/lumbar spine without contrast." Then fill out the search radius and click search.

The database arranges the results from lowest price to highest. This is a big point here: the first items that come up will say the price is zero, but THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S FREE.

Rather, it simply means a price wasn't provided. There is a scrolling bar that you can use to search the results. Another tip is to be sure to read the notes in the gray box under the facility's phone number. That's where you will find out what that cost includes.


To contribute pricing you will need your bill or your explanation of benefits from that particular procedure. You first type in the procedure description as close as you can get it and/or the medical code if you have it. Then you type in the provider, followed by clicking if you used insurance or not.

If you used insurance it will ask you to identify which one and how you get your insurance - for example, if it's through your employer. Then it's basic numbers, date of the procedure, total price charged, how much insurance paid and how much you paid out of pocket. Use the comments section to add any notes about your coverage.


All of the information that you share will appear anonymously in the database. We ask for your email address and phone number ONLY to contact you to request information about the data you submitted, those items will NOT be shared publicly. Again, the information you provide will remain anonymous in the database.

If you still have questions about how this works please see the frequently asked question pages for further clarification.

Your participation will greatly make this database more effective.
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