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Californians are upset about MRI prices: PriceCheck on KQED Forum

Posted by on August 8, 2014

Summary: Californians are really upset about health care prices, we learned as were featured on KQED Forum, the morning live call-in program on KQED public radio in San Francisco. The show featured a discussion of back MRI prices and other topics related to PriceCheck, our crowdsourcing project with KQED and KPCC public radio in Los Angeles. Lisa Aliferis, editor of KQED’s State of Health blog, and I had a lot of engaged callers, and some terrific conversation with host Joshua Johnson. Click here to listen, or click through for an image with the link.

 

 


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The disturbing confessions of a medical scribe: Adding to the bill

Posted by on August 8, 2014

Summary: How a little bit of money can become a lot of money is described here in an anonymous blog post by a “scribe,” a person occupying this relatively new role of helping a physician document charges for billing. The post appears on kevinmd.com, detailing how $20 here and $30 there, and an “autocomplete” on a patient’s chart, can suddenly mean big money. Keep reading, or…

 

 


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Price transparency brought lower costs, more competition, study says

Posted by on August 5, 2014

Summary: What happens when prices are visible? Well, prices go down, and providers compete. So: health-care marketplace, are you listening? Here’s a brand-new study about price transparency from the influential journal Health Affairs.

 

 


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How much does an MRI cost in California: $255? $973.25? $2,925?

Posted by on July 30, 2014

MRIlowerback

Summary: Early results from our California crowdsourcing project on MRI prices are in. Payments range from $255 to $2,925.15. MRI pricing is a complete mystery: What should you pay? Can you ask for a discount? We’ve been looking at health-care prices for three years, so if we say it’s a mystery, we can imagine what it looks like to you.

 

 


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Meeting the deductible: Cancer drugs, insurance and a happy ending

Posted by on July 23, 2014

Summary: Denied claims, long arguments, an eternity spent on hold arguing over a bill? Yes. But! Sometimes there are happy endings in the conversation with the billing office and the insurer. As deductibles and co-insurance rise, it’s more important than ever to know how to explore whether that bill is right or that statement is right. Read on for a happy ending, or…

 

 


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15 Highest-Paid Biopharma CEOs of 2013: Follow the money

Posted by on July 20, 2014

Summary: The $1,000 hepatitis C drug Sovaldi has been in the news lately for the potential dislocation to drug prices, as well as for its therapeutic benefit to hepatitis C patients. The story behind the story involves Congress planning hearings, patients begging for treatment, drug producers explaining that such high prices barely cover their costs, and insurers insisting that drug prices are out of control. Meanwhile, this FiercePharma listing of the 15 best-paid biopharma execs still has the potential to surprise. Read on for details, or….

 

 


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How much does a colonoscopy cost? From $600 to over $5,400

Posted by on July 20, 2014

SUMMARY: How much does a colonoscopy cost? It can vary: from $600 to over $5,400 depending on, among other factors, where it’s done (doctor’s office or surgical center?), what the lab fees are (as in, what they find to test), how long the procedure lasts, what your anesthesia is, and so on. Read on to learn about colonoscopy pricing or…

 

 


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Why do MRI prices vary so much? And a note about our data

Posted by on July 17, 2014

 

MRI cost

Summary: MRI pricing is fascinating because the disparities are so wide. It’s basically a fairly routine procedure (I’ve had one myself) and yet we have providers reporting prices to us ranging from as little as $295 to to $10,246 at UCSF-Mount Zion.

 

 


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How much does an IUD cost, and is it covered? One paid $0, another $730

Posted by on July 15, 2014

Summary: How much does an IUD cost, and isn’t it covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act? In our PriceCheck crowdsourcing project, we are focusing this month on mammogram prices in California, but the “share” form accepts all kinds of procedures. These three IUD shares caught my attention; one woman paid $0, one paid $199.24, and one paid $730. What’s up with that? Read on to find out, or ….

 

 


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People are shopping for health care. This is what it sounds like.

Posted by on July 14, 2014

Summary: Culture change is here. People are upset about their health costs, and they’re acting like consumers in the marketplace. They’re looking for value, and for providers who will cure their ills and treat them like thinking beings. We know this because they’re telling us on our PriceCheck project, crowdsourcing health-care prices with our partners KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC/Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles.

 

 


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