Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

There are many accusations of money-grubbing in the health care industry. Most of them are subtle: a preferred medication here, a handshake behind closed doors there. But actually hanging a chart on the wall and proudly color-coding your ER doctors like car salesmen based on how high their admission rates are? That’s about as in-your-face as the pursuit of profit gets. [More]

(KogeLiz)

Walgreens Will Provide Some Prescriptions For A Month To Backlogged Health Care Enrollees

One problem facing people who have been trying to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act but who haven’t been able to do so successfully is the dilemma of how to get certain medications once January hits. Walgreens says it’ll hand out a month’s worth of some prescriptions at no upfront cost to those people. [More]

Which Of Your Local Emergency Rooms Has The Shortest Wait Time?

Which Of Your Local Emergency Rooms Has The Shortest Wait Time?

When a medical emergency hits, the tendency might be to simply go to the nearest hospital and hope to get seen right away — and if you’re truly in dire shape then this is probably good advice because even if you’re not admittedly immediately, you are surrounded by nurses and doctors. But for people whose medical needs are urgent but not URGENT, there might be a faster-moving emergency room a few miles down the road. [More]

(Jason Gooljar)

GSK Theoretically Not Going To Pay Off Docs Anymore

Giant drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline announced today that it intends to stop paying doctors to prescribe more of the company’s drugs, a move that could possibly entice other large pharma companies to do the same. [More]

Flexible Spending Accounts Get A Little Less Inflexible With Ability To Roll Money Over

Flexible Spending Accounts Get A Little Less Inflexible With Ability To Roll Money Over

Some 14 million American families participate in employer-sponsored flexible spending accounts that let you put pre-tax money into an account to be used on medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. But millions of consumers elect not to have an FSA because of the “use it or lose it” requirement that forfeits unused funds at the end of the year. So in an effort to get people participating, the IRS will be allowing companies to offer FSAs that let employees roll over up to $500 in unused funds into the next year. [More]

(The Consumerist)

If You Haven’t Seen Your Doctor In A Few Years, Expect To Pay ‘New Patient’ Fee

For years, a growing number of healthcare providers have been tacking on fees that most patients didn’t notice because they were being paid by insurance companies. But as insurance companies trim the list of fees they’ll cover — and employers shift to cheaper health plans to keep costs from skyrocketing, consumers are being hit with fees they weren’t expecting. [More]

Student With Diabetes Forced To Decide Between Health Care Or Going To College

Student With Diabetes Forced To Decide Between Health Care Or Going To College

A Massachusetts college student with diabetes is facing a tough situation: Either she stops going to college full-time to qualify for the insurance she’s currently using, or she opts for help from the state that isn’t going to give her the quality of life she’s used to. So what’s a student trying to get ahead in life to do — try to get an education on a part-time basis or get along without the insulin pump that helps her treat her diabetes? [More]

Some Employers Plan On Dropping Health Benefits To Deal With Rising Medical Costs

Some Employers Plan On Dropping Health Benefits To Deal With Rising Medical Costs

In somewhat troubling news for the more than 160 million Americans who get their healthcare through employer-sponsored programs, almost 10% of those employers say they’ll likely drop health coverage for their workers in the next three years, blaming rising medical costs. [More]

Sometimes It's Cheaper To Pay Cash Than Use Your Insurance

Sometimes It's Cheaper To Pay Cash Than Use Your Insurance

We all know that health insurance is supposed to lower our hospital and doctor bills to a level below the list price for procedures and services, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the lowest possible price. In fact, you can sometimes end up getting the best deal on health care if you can afford to pay cash. [More]

Aetna Hikes Health Insurance Rates For California Small Businesses

Aetna Hikes Health Insurance Rates For California Small Businesses

Health insurer Aetna has raised its rates for California small business clients considerably, making for an average increase of 8 percent, with some businesses seeing increases of as much as 21 percent. The California State Insurance Commissioner called the hikes “excessive.” [More]

Save Money On Medical Bills By Questioning Charges

When you open up a medical bill your’e usually not stunned by how little the doctor is charging you. Inflated charges, which seem to be the norm in the industry, would be laughable if their implications weren’t so crushing. But an invoice doesn’t have to be the amount you end up paying. [More]

Religious Employers Will Have To Provide Birth Control For Employees

Religious Employers Will Have To Provide Birth Control For Employees

Religious opposition to birth control won’t be a good enough reason for church-affiliated employers to get out of having to cover birth control for employees, according to an announcement from the Department of Secretary of Health and Human Services. Several types of companies will have an extra year to come into compliance with the edict, ushered in by the Obama administration’s health care reforms. [More]

Keep It In Your Pants Until You Double-Check Your Insurance

Keep It In Your Pants Until You Double-Check Your Insurance

Maybe someday you’ll sit your future child on your knee and reassure him he was created with budgetary responsibility in mind. Those who check out the quirks of their health insurance policies beforehand and babymake accordingly will be able to do just that. [More]

4 Out Of 5 Metropolitan Areas Lack Competitive Health Insurance Markets

4 Out Of 5 Metropolitan Areas Lack Competitive Health Insurance Markets

If you’ve been thinking that your options for health insurance coverage have been dwindling in recent years, you’re probably correct. A new report from the American Medical Association found that 83% of metropolitan areas in the United States lack a competitive commercial health insurance market. [More]

Good Luck Trying To Find Out How Much A Medical Procedure Will Cost

Good Luck Trying To Find Out How Much A Medical Procedure Will Cost

A new report from the folks at the Government Accountability Office has confirmed what anyone who has ever tried to get a clear estimate on what a medical procedure already knows: There’s a good chance you can’t. [More]

Walmart Won't Add Many Future Part-Timers To Health Insurance Rolls

Walmart Won't Add Many Future Part-Timers To Health Insurance Rolls

In health insurance-aimed cost-cutting maneuvers, Walmart won’t subsidize health insurance for future employees who work fewer than 24 hours a week. Also, new part-timers who work fewer than 33 weekly hours won’t be able to add spouses to their plans. And like workers at most any other company, full-timers with complete health benefits will have more deducted from their paychecks. [More]

Vaccine Could Stifle Malaria Menace

Vaccine Could Stifle Malaria Menace

Researchers may be about to take a bite out of malaria. The mosquito-borne disease, which infects 225 million people each year and kills 781,000 victims, but a new vaccine has cut the number of infections of test subjects in half in the year following vaccination. [More]

Study: Binge Boozing Costs Society $2 Per Drink

Study: Binge Boozing Costs Society $2 Per Drink

After heavy drinkers get to the point that they’ve had too many, each drink ends up costing society $2 in extra medical expenses and other costs, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. The “other” costs result mainly from drunk driving — in funds spent to lock up drunk drivers and damage from accidents. [More]