Patients want to shop for care, but have a hard time finding good tools: NPR

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Summary: “Kate and Scott Savett were trying to be responsible when they needed some medical care… Scott, 43, is a chemist and designs software for labs; Kate, 37, works in life insurance,” wrote Elana Gordon, at our partner WHYY public radio in Philadelphia, a bit ago. “They buy their health insurance through Scott’s job, and […]

Cash prices stay level, while overall costs continue to rise

Summary: A curious thing has happened in health care pricing in this country. While insurance premiums and insured people’s prices for common procedures consistently go up and up and up, cash prices for many common, “shoppable” procedures vary little from year to year. We first started to notice this pattern when we were replicating our […]

How patient satisfaction translates to more money: Randi Oster

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Summary: Patient satisfaction is a big deal in health care these days. I talked about the topic with Randi Redmond Oster, the head of Help Me Health and the multi award winning author of “Questioning Protocol,” which details her journey with her son, who has Crohn’s disease, and his multiple operations. “What I discovered was […]

Orphan drugs bring bounty for Big Pharma, at a steep price: Shots, NPR

Summary: “Before Luke Whitbeck began taking a $300,000-a-year drug, the 2-year-old’s health was inexplicably failing. A pale boy with enormous eyes, Luke frequently ran high fevers, tired easily and was skinny all over, except his belly stuck out like a bowling ball,” Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin write at NPR in a piece about […]

What your doctor wishes you knew about insurance: Guest post

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Summary: If one were to survey the public, it is not obvious whether being sick would rank as more frustrating than dealing with health insurance —- especially in these times of health reform and uncertainty. Doctors also sometimes find dealing with health insurance difficult —- especially when their patients don’t understand their responsibilities. Here is […]

21 statistics on high-deductible plans: Beckers Hospital Review

Summary: “Hospital and health system executives are well aware of the affects high-deductible health plans have had on hospital finances, from patient collections to bad debt,” Brooke Murphy wrote over at Becker’s Hospital Review, collecting statistics in May 2016. “To help quantify the impact of increasing patient financial obligations on the business of healthcare, here […]

Get health insurance via employer? ACA repeal will affect you, too

Summary: “Much of the recent attention on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has focused on the fate of the 22.5 million people likely to lose insurance through a repeal of Medicaid expansion and the loss of protections and subsidies in the individual insurance market,” JoAnn Volk writes over at Health Affairs (Related […]

Escalator clauses, rising prices, and why we should care

Summary: You may have asked yourself why health prices rise inexorably. Are escalator clauses, the automatic price increases common to many managed care contracts, the driving force behind trend factors? Bill Rusteberg, an independent insurance consultant in Texas, posted on his blog recently about escalator clauses, which he said commonly add 5 percent a year to […]

PriceCheck: Across the nation, community-built health cost guides

Summary: Our work with PriceCheck, our health cost transparency partnerships with media and other organizations, has stretched across the nation, bringing thousands of people to our partner web sites to share and search prices — from databases, from our reporting, and from our communities. Our interactive software is placed on our partners’ sites, using pricing information […]

Millions have pre-existing conditions that would make them uninsurable: Kaiser Foundation

Summary: “A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that 52 million adults under 65 – or 27 percent of that population — have pre-existing health conditions that would likely make them uninsurable if they applied for health coverage under medical underwriting practices that existed in most states before insurance regulation changes made by the Affordable […]