Castlight does for health care what is already obvious for any other market: it offers price comparisons. The cost of common diagnostic tests and medical procedures can vary widely; a cholesterol test in the same city might cost from $11 to $150, for example. These costs are typically opaque to the consumer. But as consumers have to take on more of their own medical costs, the demand for transparency has grown.
The company, founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs Giovanni Colella and Todd Park, now chief innovation officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works with large self-insured employers to provide their employees with a way to scan the out-of-pocket cost of medical services at different locations. It also shows quality ratings for physicians and hospitals; the ratings come from governmental sources as well as individual users.