Not for feline use. (Mark Turnauckas)

This holiday season, give the people you care about a gift that combines portable consumer electronics with genuine concern for their well-being. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports say that you can get a well-rated home blood pressure monitor for as little as $40. What’s a more thoughtful gift than wanting to make sure someone stays alive for longer? [Consumer Reports]

(Ron Dauphin)

After Taking Away Some Employees’ Insurance, Walmart Care Clinics To Offer $40 Doctor Visits

Less than two weeks after the nation’s larger retailer and private employer decided it would discontinue health insurance for many part-time employees, the company announced its new health care centers would provide doctor visits for around $40, or as low as $4 for Walmart employees and their families. [More]

Does Film-Coated Advil Really Work Faster?

Does Film-Coated Advil Really Work Faster?

Unless you’re allergic to certain non-active ingredients or have you have an unusual sensitivity, generally the brand-name and generic versions of over-the-counter medicines are pretty much the same. Manufacturers keep adding innovations to coax customers away from generic meds, like a film-coated version of Pfizer’s Advil that is supposed to relieve pain faster. Does it? [More]

15 Things People Of All Ages Need To Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

15 Things People Of All Ages Need To Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

Welcome to the fourth installment in a “How To Not Suck…” series on buying insurance. Previous posts looked at auto insurance, homeowner’s coverage, and life insurance, and next week we’ll look at disability plans.

No one wants to think they’ll be unable to take care of themselves, but it’s likely to happen eventually, with one study saying there’s a 70% chance you’ll need some kind of care after age 65. Today, we’re thinking to the future. Long-term care insurance will help pay the bills should you need some kind of care, so you had better learn How To Not Suck… At Long-Term Care Insurance. [More]

Is Target Shaving Workers’ Hours So It Doesn’t Have To Insure Them?

Is Target Shaving Workers’ Hours So It Doesn’t Have To Insure Them?

Earlier this week, Target announced that it would no longer offer health insurance to part-time employees (those who work fewer than 32 hours per week), while at the same time claiming that it would not be trimming employees’ schedules so that they no longer qualify as full-time workers. However, some Target employees tell Consumerist that company execs aren’t telling the truth. [More]

Target Dropping Health Insurance For Part-Time Employees

Target Dropping Health Insurance For Part-Time Employees

Saying that part-time employees can now get health care coverage through recently launched online insurance exchanges, Target announced yesterday that, as of April 1, it will no longer offer insurance to its part-time staffers. [More]

New EU Warning Label: Emergency Contraceptives Less Effective In Women Weighing 165 Pounds Or More

New EU Warning Label: Emergency Contraceptives Less Effective In Women Weighing 165 Pounds Or More

It should be obvious that the dose of medication that works in one person doesn’t work in all people. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise for women this morning to learn that an emergency contraceptive pill identical to the one sold here in the US as Plan B will carry a new warning label in Europe cautioning women that it doesn’t work if they weigh too much. [More]

(DQD)

Transgender Americans Face Complicated Medical Problems, Issues Accessing Care

When it comes to clinics for women’s health, who counts as a woman? For breast cancer screenings funded by the CDC, there’s a requirement that advocates for transgender Americans find discriminatory and problematic: patients must be “born as women,” excluding women who were identified as male at birth but who now need services like mammograms. Routine health care can become very complicated, and accessing public health services is too. [More]

(Wade Morgen)

When An Ambulance Is Really A $160 Per Mile Taxi

No one questions the life-saving service that ambulances provide, or the expense of keeping teams of life-saving professionals on call 24 hours a day. One Tennessee man was horrified when he paid almost $800 for an ambulance to fetch him from his third-floor apartment and take him to the hospital when he hurt his back. He didn’t need life support: he would have done just fine with an elevator and a taxi. [More]

(cPhillip Pessar)

Walgreens Moving Eligible Employees To Health Insurance Exchange

Walgreen Co., the parent company of Walgreen’s, is joining the “Let’s change our health care” party, right after Trader Joe’s announced it’d be giving employees money to purchase their own health insurance on the exchange system. The company announced today that it will send eligible employees shopping for coverage instead of using a company-backed system. [More]

Some Employers Really Want To Ditch Your Spouse

Some Employers Really Want To Ditch Your Spouse

It’s nothing personal, but some employers really want to ditch their workers’ spouses. They’re not making people get divorced, but are dropping spouses who have access to health insurance benefits through their own employers. It was big news yesterday when UPS announced that they plan to do exactly that, a change that affects about 15,000 people. [More]

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

If you don’t mind trading your shopping history and personal data for free stuff or discounts, loyalty card programs offer some great benefits if you were going to be loyal to a business in the first place. The question is, how much of your privacy are you willing to give up for some discounts? [More]

(frankieleon)

Man In Need Of Bone Marrow Transplant Finds His Health Coverage Terminated Over $0.26

It appears that the question “Can anyone spare a quarter?” is not one you need to be worried about when your life is on the line. But one couple found out exactly how dire of a situation a little more than a quarter could get them into after the husband’s health coverage was terminated months before he was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia. The reason? A $0.26 shortfall on a monthly COBRA premium. [More]

(msmail)

Hospital Bills Patient 21 Months After Treatment, And Long After Original Bill Was Paid

When you pay off your portion of a hospital bill, you might assume that you’ve fulfilled your financial obligation to the healthcare provider. That is, until nearly two years later when the hospital sends you a new invoice without any further explanation. [More]

(voteprime)

Silly Me, Expecting My Mail-Order Pharmacy To Pay Attention To My Meds

Don’t expect your mail-order pharmacy to look out for you or for your health. That’s what reader Kathleen learned when her auto-refill prescription got auto-refilled, in spite of her new and exciting prescription for the same medication in a higher dose. Isn’t the point to having everything run by benevolent computers that they’re smarter than we are, and don’t make silly human errors? [More]

(yoshiffles)

Paging 1994: Report Says Hospitals Are Leaking Billions Of Dollars By Still Using Beepers

There are no doubt millions of children in the United States right now who would greet a pager with a blank stare, having never witnessed one in action. And yet the country’s hospitals still rely on beepers and other outdated technology for communication between staff members. But being stuck in 1994 isn’t a cheap endeavor, according to a new report — it’s actually costing hospitals billions of dollars a year. So why do they still use them? [More]

The man in the foreground did not try to con a Minnesota hospital.

Posing As Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour To Scam Hospital For $100K In Treatment Is Not A Good Idea

Pretending to be a legend of rock in order to rack up a six-figure hospital bill may sound reasonable — to a crazy person — but it’s likely just going to end up with you in a whole mess of trouble. [More]

(blue_j)

Last Year 80 Million Working-Age Adults Skipped Medical Care Because They Couldn’t Afford It

Can’t afford to seek medical care, even if your’e insured? You’re not alone — a new report says around 80 million people, or 43% of  working-age adults skipped out on getting the treatment they needed last year because they simply couldn’t pay for it. Included in those ranks are the insured as well as the uninsured, a sign that health costs are rising for everyone. [More]