health care


New Warning Labels Coming To Opioid Painkillers

A week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on physicians to stop prescribing opioid painkillers when less-problematic therapeutic treatments will do the trick, another federal agency is joining in the effort to alert consumers to the potential risks of using these frequently prescribed medications. [More]

Fujoshi Bijou

Health Care Providers Repeatedly Violate HIPAA, Nothing Happens

You’re probably familiar with HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a federal law that protects your health information from being shared with anyone who doesn’t need to see it. This includes things like mailing someone the wrong set of test results, shouting information in a pharmacy for everyone to hear, and of course mass breaches of paper or digital data. [More]

While it had many failings, the Galactic Empire did have an excellent health plan.  (RedandJonny)

Your Health Insurer Could Pay You To Take Your Blood Pressure And Weight (Sort Of)

The kiosks at pharmacies where you can take your blood pressure, pulse, and maybe even weigh yourself aren’t just for killing time while you wait for a prescription. Well, they’re mostly for that, but Walmart will be trying out a new rewards card that compensates customers to visit the checkup kiosks to take a few measurements. [More]

CVS Will Experiment With Selling Glasses And Hearing Aids In Some Stores

CVS Will Experiment With Selling Glasses And Hearing Aids In Some Stores

Would you like to be able to take care of even more of your health care during a visit to CVS? The drugstore chain announced today that it will experiment with adding two new services to its retail stores, piloting hearing aids in some stores and optical clinics in others. The clinics will have audiologists and optometrists on staff respectively. [More]

(Curtis Perry)

Kmart Pays $1.4 Million To Settle Accusations Of Illegal Coupon Acceptance, Prescription Incentives

In most of the country, pharmacies can offer rewards points, coupons, or other inducements to get you to switch prescriptions to them. Not only is this illegal in certain states, it’s also illegal to offer these incentives to customers with health insurance through Medicaid. Kmart has settled allegations from a whistleblower that it did exactly that for customers with Medicaid, and accepted co-pay coupons for brand-name drugs for them. [More]

SCOTUS Ruling Means Millions Of Americans No Longer At Risk To Lose Health Insurance Subsidies

SCOTUS Ruling Means Millions Of Americans No Longer At Risk To Lose Health Insurance Subsidies

The Affordable Care Act scored a major victory today as the Supreme Court upheld provisions allowing the government to provide tax subsidies for consumers who purchased insurance through the program, although their states don’t have an official insurance exchange of their own. [More]


Pediatricians Say Using Teaspoons & Tablespoons For Kids’ Medicine Leads To Overdoses

While some parents pull out actual measuring spoons when pouring out a teaspoon or tablespoon of their kids’ medications, many just resort to employing the same utensils they use for family meals. But while you might use a spoon for tea, that doesn’t mean it holds only a teaspoon of liquid, and a larger spoon may or may not actually hold a tablespoon. In an effort to cut down on thousands of annual overdose cases, the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for medications to be measured in milliliters. [More]

Anthem Hack Included Personal Information For 78.8 Million Customers & Employees

Anthem Hack Included Personal Information For 78.8 Million Customers & Employees

Nearly three weeks removed from the detection of a massive data breach, health insurer Anthem Inc. is releasing more details about the scope of the hack, including the fact that personal information for about 78.8 million was compromised. [More] Open Enrollment Extended As Uninsured File Taxes Open Enrollment Extended As Uninsured File Taxes

If you went without health insurance during 2014, you’re now facing a modest financial penalty of $95 or 1% of your income. Next year, that penalty will increase. All of this is news to some uninsured people. That’s why, as predicted, the federal government and some state exchanges are creating an extra open enrollment period to help these people out. [More]


Consumer Behavior In Rhode Island Shows Shopping For A New Health Plan Can Pay Off

It might feel sometimes like you’re shopping in a vacuum, where you are the single entity in the world that matters — “Do I buy this shirt? Do I want to shop around for a new health plan?” — but the truth is, the choices we make as consumers can have an effect on everybody else. For example, if you didn’t shop around and change your health plan from last year, you might find that the price of that plan has gone up for everyone. [More]

Mark Turnauckas

Show Your Loved Ones That You Care With Blood Pressure Monitors

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] [More]

(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]


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]