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]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to approving medical devices for patients to use, the Food and Drug Administration is handcuffed by conflict of interest rules that it says slow the process. A bipartisan trio of senators have introduced a bill that would ease the rules in favor of getting devices approved quicker, possibly at the expense of medical ethics.
With health insurance premiums rising fast, businesses are looking to keep expenses down by encouraging employees to improve their health, thus cutting down on the cost of care they’ll use. More companies are offering on-site gym access and check-ups, discounts on healthy cafeteria food and incentives to get workers to quit smoking.