Insurance broker commissions: Medical treatment? Hmmm.

  Commissions are big money for brokers. And how do we know? That’s the primary pay structure for many brokers — the service they provide, in navigating customers to a policy they want, and navigating insurers to customers they want, results in a commission. It’s not always clear who the winner or the loser is, […]

A portrait of the uninsured: Skipping care

Low-income people spend longer amounts of time being uninsured, and skip needed care because they’re uninsured, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund. This in itself may not be surprising, but the depths of the problem are: 35 percent of low-income families and 18 percent of moderate-income families have been uninsured for two […]

On high-deductible plans, people spend less

Families with high-deductible health plans tend to delay or forgo health care because of the cost, according to a new study by a team of Harvard researchers. The study, by phone and mail, questioned 208 families in high-deductible health plans and 370 in traditional plans. Membership in a high-deductible plan and lower income “were each […]

Cost and Medicare reimbursement: An arcane formula

  Summary: We’re hard at work over here at ClearHealthCosts, providing you with tools to make your health-care costs transparent. This is a bit arcane, but here goes:  what I’m about to tell you reflects the way our health-care marketplace works. Keep reading, or … CLICK HERE FOR PRICES     Jeanne PinderJeanne Pinder  is […]

Mad as Hell Doctors: Advocating for single-payer health care

Dr. Samuel Metz, an anesthesiologist from Willamette Valley, Ore., is a member of Mad as Hell Doctors and an advocate for a single-payer health-care system. Mad As Hell Doctors is the creation of two Oregon single-payer advocates, Adam Klugman and Gary Jelinek. Frustrated with their efforts to get single-payer health care into the public eye, they envisioned […]

Hmm. The drug’s price: $12.10 without insurance, $38 with.

Hmm. The drug’s price: $12.10 without insurance, $38 with.

A friend writes: In July, a close friend of mine celebrated his 65th birthday. My friend, who I’ll call Howard, spent the weeks leading up to his birthday reviewing his options for Medicare enrollment, carefully picking the plans that made most sense for him: a Part A plan for hospitalizations; a Part B plan for […]

Overhauling the system: Rising costs and consumer-driven care

An overhaul of  the health-care system much bigger than what’s been described so far is necessary, writes Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post. “What propels U.S. health spending upward? The …  answer comes in two parts: steep prices and abundant provision of some expensive services. In 2007, an appendectomy cost $7,962 in the United States, […]

A move to let government set health-care prices

Massachusetts wants to allow government to fix health-care prices in some cases. We’re watching closely. “Here’s a pretty simple explanation for all the price variation: hospitals negotiate specific rates for specific insurance companies,” Sarah Kliff writes on Wonkblog at The Washington Post. “They gauge the size of the insurance company and how many patients it […]

Changing the way we pay: An A.M.A. journal prediction

“It is my belief that we are headed towards a health system that reimburses based on global capitation,” writes Randy Wexler, M.D., M.P.H. , on, a site of the American Medical Association. “Such a change allows the government and others to better estimate expenditures and places responsibility (risk) for cost on providers; the primary […]