The Oxford Prescription Drug List says that asthma drug Montelukast is an inexpensive Tier 1 drug, but makes no mention that it's pulverized form is a Tier 2 drug at twice the cost. (Click to enlarge)

We Live In A World Where Your Insurer Doesn’t Care That It Charges Two Prices For One Drug

In one month, the price of your generic prescription doubles. The first person at your insurance company says “Oops, that’s a mistake,” but a second person tells you that the mistake was actually made when you were charged the original, lower price. Meanwhile, the insurance company’s website tells you that the lower price is the correct one — and none of these people actually seem to give a damn. [More]

34% Of Uninsured Choosing To Stay Without Health Coverage, 70% Don’t Know About Subsidies

34% Of Uninsured Choosing To Stay Without Health Coverage, 70% Don’t Know About Subsidies

We’d like to think that most of you know that March 31 is the deadline to obtain health insurance or face a penalty for lack of coverage, but if you’re one of the millions of uninsured Americans, it’s about a 50/50 chance that you’re actually aware of this deadline. And to about one-third of the country’s uninsured, the deadline doesn’t matter because they are choosing to go without coverage. [More]

(Tom Raftery)

Get Your Health Insurance Company’s Attention: Use Twitter

Over at ProPublica, they recently learned what we at Consumerist have known since 2008: when you’re having customer service trouble, sometimes the best way to use alternate means to get the attention of someone who can help you. Propublica discovered that some consumers are using Twitter to navigate the intensely personal and deeply confusing world of health 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]

Letter From Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Presumes I Don’t Understand Affordable Care Act

Letter From Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Presumes I Don’t Understand Affordable Care Act

Kim received a solicitation in the mail from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield offering her the opportunity to apply for guaranteed health insurance coverage. This plan offers appealing benefits like no copay for routine screening tests or immunizations. Sounds great! Except it’s not. [More]

Is Staples Cutting Employee Hours Ahead of Affordable Healthcare Act?

Is Staples Cutting Employee Hours Ahead of Affordable Healthcare Act?

Is it a case of following old rules, or a way to skirt paying part-time employees healthcare? That’s the question for Staples this week as a memo surfaced advising managers not to schedule part-time employees for more than 25 hours a week. Under the Affordable Healthcare Act, which takes effect next year, employees working more than 30 hours a week are considered full-time and eligible for affordable healthcare through their employer. [More]

Sample 834 data. It's not supposed to be diagonal, don't worry.

What Is An 834 Transaction, And Why Should I Care?

The good news is that Healthcare.gov, the health insurance marketplace for states that haven’t set up their own exchanges, is now up and functional. Well, the front end is working. Now that eligible people in need of insurance are able to log in and sign up, the next step is for the site to send their information over to the health insurance companies. That’s where things might go very wrong. [More]

Check Your Insurance Before Getting Flu Shot At Walgreens & Other Stores

Check Your Insurance Before Getting Flu Shot At Walgreens & Other Stores

Retail pharmacies are now responsible for around 1-in-5 flu shots given to Americans each year, and many of these stores advertise low-cost or no-cost shots for customers on certain health plans. But a survey of Walgreens locations in New York City and Los Angeles finds that nearly half of the flu shot recipients at these stores are getting bad information about whether their insurance policies cover the cost of the shot. [More]

California Pulls Plug On 10 Bogus Healthcare Sites

California Pulls Plug On 10 Bogus Healthcare Sites

Confusion over the Affordable Care Act is already causing more than a few headaches these days. The last thing consumers need is scam websites set up to look like official state exchanges with the purpose of tricking people into turning over their personal information. Today, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that her office has shut down 10 sites passing themselves off as the state’s official insurance marketplace. [More]

(frankieleon)

Healthcare.gov Thinks I’m Ineligible For Insurance Because I’m In Jail?

The good news is that lots and lots of people were interested in signing up and shopping for health insurance once exchanges opened on October 1st. The bad news was that the site and its identity-verification services weren’t up to the task. So the Department of Health and Human Services apologized in a blog post…a post that accepts user comments. These comments make interesting reading. [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]

Trader Joe’s Gets Rid Of Health Insurance Benefit For Part-Timers

Trader Joe’s Gets Rid Of Health Insurance Benefit For Part-Timers

At first glance, this story has a scary headline: Trader Joe’s is yanking health insurance away from many employees because of Obamacare. That is what’s happening, but leaves out that yes, workers are losing their coverage…because the Affordable Care Act means that adults whose jobs don’t provide health insurance but who are well above the poverty line will have access to reasonably priced insurance through state exchanges. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Shouldn’t Hip & Knee Replacements Come With Warranties?

Most new products, from cheapo wristwatches to new cars, often come with manufacturers’ warranties. But that isn’t the case for most hip and knee implants, meaning that a growing number of Americans are having expensive devices put in their bodies without any written assurance from the manufacturers. [More]

(frankieleon)

Health Insurance Marketplace Goes Live Oct. 1, But Most Don’t Have A Clue What That Means

Unless you’ve had wool stuffed in your ears you might’ve heard the words “Affordable Care Act” bandied about for a while now. And starting Oct. 1, open-enrollment season officially begins for people to purchase insurance coverage. But what does that even mean? If you don’t know, you’re not alone: According to a new poll, 51% of Americans say they don’t understand how that will affect them or their families. [More]

(MPD01605)

Walmart To Offer Employees’ Domestic Partners Health Insurance In 2014

This week, Walmart employees will receive a postcard in the mail with news that could be irrelevant or that could be life-changing. At the beginning of next year, the company will join most of the rest of the Fortune 500 in offering health, vision, and dental insurance benefits to the domestic partners of employees who are eligible. [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]

Express Scripts Decides Cancer Patient’s Drug Isn’t Approved Yet, Shrugs

Express Scripts Decides Cancer Patient’s Drug Isn’t Approved Yet, Shrugs

Health insurance is supposed to make your life less stressful, not more. It’s supposed to help you treat illnesses, not keep you away from legitimate treatments. Yet mail-order pharmacy kept a life-extending treatment away from a terminal cancer patient, causing her extra stress and costing her time spent on the phone and not receiving treatment. [More]