“When Pam Leonard felt a lump in her breast last November, she hesitated, debating whether to get testing to see if she had cancer,” Reed Abelson writes over at The New York Times. “She thought of her insurance policy, which carries a deductible of $2,600. She knew she would also have to spend as much as $5,700 on medical bills that would not be covered by an individual policy she bought under the Affordable Care Act. ‘I went back and forth for a couple of weeks,’ Ms. Leonard recalled. ‘I had to do something,’ she said. ‘It didn’t go away.’ She eventually got a mammogram and ultrasound, confirming a cancer diagnosis. That led to a lumpectomy and weeks of chemotherapy. Ms. Leonard, 58, a teacher in Kenosha, Wis., will soon begin radiation treatment. High-deductible plans have become commonplace, a deterrent used by companies to lower health care costs by discouraging unnecessary tests or treatments. Evidence for that link has mounted since the Great Recession 10 years ago, when deductibles began to soar: People increasingly deferred medical care, putting off elective surgeries and doctors’ visits. National health care spending slowed as a result. But a recent study of women with insurance plans that carried deductibles of at least $1,000 underscores the danger to consumers required to shoulder a greater share of those costs.” Reed Abelson, “Women With Breast Cancer Delay Care When Faced With High Deductibles,” , The New York Times.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.