Back in 2009, a then 17-year-old woman in California visited a Kaiser Permanente office because she was experiencing strange back pain. In the months that followed, she and her mother say they repeatedly requested an MRI but Kaiser doctors would only tell her to lose weight or get acupuncture treatments. All the while, a cancerous tumor was growing that would eventually result in the surgical removal of her right leg, and parts of her pelvis and spine. Believing Kaiser could have caught the cancer earlier if it hadn’t delayed the MRI, a jury has awarded the patient $28 million in damages. [More]
In Canada, you can buy a tube of brand-name prescription cold sore cream Zovirax for around $50. Its generic equivalent (acyclovir) is half that price. And even here in the states you can find generics acyclovir pills and ointments for a reasonable price, so why does what is effectively the same product sell for more than $2,500 in the U.S.? [More]
There are millions of Americans who regularly take prescription proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications to treat heartburn and ulcers, but researchers claim to have found a link between prolonged use of these drugs and a vitamin deficiency that could increase the risk of dementia, nerve damage, anemia, and other medical complications. [More]
Reader Laura had Kaiser Permanente health insurance through her employer. When she lost her job, she paid Kaiser directly for COBRA coverage. She stuck with the company for her employer-subsidized health insurance when she started a new job earlier this year, and was under the impression that the COBRA plan would end when her new coverage began. It didn’t.
When she couldn’t convince anyone in first-line customer service that she really, really didn’t mean to have two separate insurance plans simultaneously, she did some research and launched an executive e-mail carpet bomb at the company, bringing the bureaucratic stupidity to the attention of someone with actual power.
Good news if you prefer the allergy medication Allegra: it’s now available over-the-counter. Bad news, if you’re reader Cynthia: it’ll cost more for you out of pocket, and you can’t get it from the Kaiser mail-order pharmacy anymore.
Tim has been stuck in a 7-month limbo with his ex-health insurer Kaiser Permanente that he is trying to break it off with. First he was told to write in a fax that said “I [name here] no longer want health care coverage by KP.” Then it turned out they gave him the wrong fax number, which he found out after he got a bill for missing payment. He called back and got the right fax number, was promised a refund and prorated payment, and sent in all his info. Instead, he got back a letter from the collections department.