By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA - When travelers are looking for a cheaper way to get to their destination, they might try different websites to compare prices.

Cary Smith
Cary Smith

Republican Sen. Cary Smith says the same should be true for health care.

Senate Bill 96 would provide incentives for both the patients and their insurers to shop around for their treatment and procedures. The savings would be split between the patient and the insurance company.

The Affordable Care Act has been threatened with repeal at the federal level, but Smith says the high cost of health care needs to be addressed.

“And I don’t see it going down as we change things, unless we make this more competitive and give the consumer what I’ve titled as the ‘right to shop,’ ” Smith said Friday.

Smith says however his proposed incentives end up working, the main goal is transparency.

The Public Health, Welfare and Safety committee hears the bill Monday.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.