(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]

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]

Doctors Skip The Whole Insurance Thing By Charging Monthly Retainers

Doctors Skip The Whole Insurance Thing By Charging Monthly Retainers

What if, instead of paying hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each month for health insurance that you may not even be taking advantage of, you paid a retainer of somewhere between $39 to $79 a month to your primary care physician? Some doctors say this kind of service can work out to the benefit of both caregiver and patient. [More]

Doctor Accused Of Billing Medicare $375 Million For Nonexistent Treatments

It’s one thing to sneak a few hundred — or even a few thousand — dollars under the federal government’s radar. But how in the world did a Texas doctor allegedly manage to bilk the feds out of almost $375 million in bogus Medicare claims in only five years? [More]

New Legislation Would Pad Health Insurance Coffers While Screwing Over Consumers

As part of the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must spend at least 80% of the money they earn from premiums on actually providing health care, with the remaining cash used to cover all administrative, advertising and payroll costs. Those insurers with plans that don’t follow this ratio are soon supposed to start giving the extra money back in refunds and discounts. But new legislation introduced in the Senate this week could jeopardize this, while giving insurance companies even more money to stick in their dog pillows. [More]

Anthem Blue Cross Holds Off On Plan To Charge $15 To Pay Bill By Credit Card

Anthem Blue Cross Holds Off On Plan To Charge $15 To Pay Bill By Credit Card

Last week, we told you how Anthem Blue Cross of California had decided it no longer wants to take credit card payments and will soon start charging $15 “convenience” fees for those still wishing to pay by plastic. But now that the California Attorney General is looking into the matter, Anthem has put that plan on hold. [More]

Anthem Blue Cross To Start Charging $15/Month To Pay Bill By Credit Card

Anthem Blue Cross To Start Charging $15/Month To Pay Bill By Credit Card

Anthem Blue Cross, along with its parent company, perennial Worst Company In America contender WellPoint, is known for many things — trying to jack up rates on policyholders by upward of 30%, practicing rescission on breast cancer patients, and leaking customers’ credit card information online. Basically everything except for providing quality health insurance. You can soon add another item to Anthem’s long list of qualifications when it stops allowing credit card payments, except for those willing to pay a $15 convenience fee. [More]

Blue Shield Of California To Give $167 Million Back To Individual Policyholders

Blue Shield Of California To Give $167 Million Back To Individual Policyholders

Amid criticism for increased rates and cushy executive salaries, the CEO of Blue Shield of California has announced that the company will cap its net income at 2%, returning any extra funds — $180 million this year alone — back to certain policyholders and doctors. [More]

New HHS Rule Hopes To Rein In Some Runaway Health Insurance Premiums

New HHS Rule Hopes To Rein In Some Runaway Health Insurance Premiums

According to a recent study, the cost of health insurance coverage for a family of four has soared 131% since 1999. And the insurance companies continue to seek double-digit rate hikes even while profiting from peoples’ reluctance to seek medical care. Thus, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Dept. of Health & Human Services has just issued a new to help define what constitutes an unreasonable health insurance rate increase. [More]

Health Insurers Still Asking For Higher Rates Even As People Put Off Going To Doctor

Health Insurers Still Asking For Higher Rates Even As People Put Off Going To Doctor

Between 2008 and 2010, the number of insured employees with annual deductibles of at least $2,000 doubled, now representing about 10% of all covered workers. As a result, it looks like more people are postponing or not seeking medical care. But that hasn’t stopped the health insurance companies from continuing to ask for rate hikes. [More]

New Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan Steers Patients To Cheaper Hospitals

New Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan Steers Patients To Cheaper Hospitals

If you live in Massachusetts and have Blue Cross Blue Shield health coverage, you may end up paying more if you want to go to certain hospitals. [More]