Montana officials say the state could save $25 million over the next two years in health care costs for government workers under a new pricing plan negotiated with the state's largest hospitals.

The new pricing system is tied to rates already established under the Medicare system, the federal insurance program that serves the country's elderly.

Allegiance, a Missoula-based health care company, administers the state's health plan and will be implementing the new pricing contracts with nine of the state's largest hospitals.

State officials say the changes will help provide transparency in pricing, allowing state workers and their families to better understand and plan their health care spending. In some cases, costs for hospital services can vary wildly. Later this summer, Allegiance will release a health care pricing "blue book."

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