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

Summary: 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 […]

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 […]

Want to find out health costs? Good luck!

  Meaningful information about health-care prices is difficult for consumers to obtain, the Government Accounting Office has discovered in a report just made public. The GAO report found a number of anomalies: “when GAO contacted physicians’ offices to obtain information on the price of a diabetes screening, several representatives said the patient needs to be […]

Back to Massachusetts: Legislating health costs

Massachusetts is trying to change the way doctors, hospitals and other providers are paid, according to an article in The New York Times. The state legislature is working on bills that would make flat “global payments” to providers to keep patients well. This would replace the current system, which charges fees for every service provided, […]

Ways to Save, Part 5: Consumer-driven health care

Ways to Save, Part 5: Consumer-driven health care

As part of our mission to help you save money by beating back your health-care costs, we’re running a series  giving practical consumer advice about the marketplace. Here’s the first post about saving money (we suggest that you always ask the price in advance); here’s the second (even in an emergency, ask!);  and the third (do you want to decide solely […]