Most of us know which local hospitals and doctors are covered by our insurance providers, but even when we make sure that we only see an in-network physician or surgeon, nearly one-third of privately insured Americans are still hit with higher-than-expected medical bills, often because their in-network hospital brought in or contracted out to an out-of-network service provider. How did we get to the point where so many consumers have so little information about what to expect when their hospital bill arrives? [More]
Facebook is already a hotbed for your hypochondriac and conspiracy theorist friends to post poorly sourced or blatantly false medical information — like the bogus “Johns Hopkins Cancer Update” that pops up every few months — but the social network apparently wants to be more actively involved in the collecting and sharing of healthcare information to its users. [More]
By now we know that every purchase a consumer makes is added to a list detailing one’s spending and life-style habit, which is used to target people for marketing campaigns and other services. But how would you feel if that information was used by your doctors to keep tabs on your health? [More]
Acute bronchitis is generally a result of any number of viruses, meaning that antibiotics won’t work. This is not news to the medical or scientific community, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been trying for 15 years to get doctors to stop the knee-jerk practice of prescribing antibiotics for the disease. And yet, a new study finds that some 70% of physicians are still telling patients to take drugs that don’t work. [More]
Nearly 1,300 women who thought mammograms had shown they were clear of cancer were likely shocked to find out that a former radiological technician had instead signed into the system as multpiple doctors and falsely signed off on all those reports. She’s just been convicted and sentenced to serve up to six months in a detention center, 10 years on probation — meaning she can’t work anywhere in health care — and will have to pay a $12,500 fine. [More]
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.
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]
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.