Hospital mergers across US have raised health care prices. Now, another is pending in Maine: Bangor Daily News

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Hospital mergers across US have raised health care prices. Now, another is pending in Maine: Bangor Daily News

“Size matters when it comes to health care. Just ask the leaders of Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, who have been forging ahead with a deal that they say is critical for the long-term survival of their 25-bed facility,” Charles Eichacker writes in the Bangor Daily News. “They are close to becoming the 10th hospital […]

Eli Lilly promised to lower Insulin prices, but its cheaper drug is hard to find: The Washington Post

Eli Lilly promised to lower Insulin prices, but its cheaper drug is hard to find: The Washington Post

“Each year brings a fresh episode of popular and political outrage over high drug prices,” Christopher Rowland writes for The Washington Post. “In 2019, it was insulin’s turn in the spotlight. The lifesaving drug for diabetics surged in list price more than 250 percent over a recent 10-year span — despite being a century-old invention. The […]

Indiana lawmakers to tackle health costs: The Journal Gazette

Indiana lawmakers to tackle health costs: The Journal Gazette

“High health care costs in Indiana have caught the eye of Republican legislative leaders, who plan to tackle the issue during the 2020 session,” Niki Kelly writes in The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind.  “Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray called the issue an economic development problem because employers are paying a large part […]

In Minnesota, rising health costs hitting home: Grand Forks Herald

In Minnesota, rising health costs hitting home: Grand Forks Herald

“What good is health care you can’t get?” Paul John Scott and Jeremy Fugleberg write in The Grand Forks Herald. “Ask Katie Larson. She’s 30, a resident of Lake George, Minn., and the office manager at Coldwell Banker Clack & Dennis Real Estate in Park Rapids. ‘I avoid using the doctor any time I can,’ […]

How much does an air ambulance cost?

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

How much does an air ambulance cost?

The median charge for an air ambulance ride in a helicopter was more than $36,000 in 2017. (Image by Ed Uthman licensed under Creative Commons.) The headline from News 5, the Cleveland ABC affiliate, says it all: It can happen to anyone of us, an air ambulance ride costing $53,000 It happened to Julie and […]

Buying health insurance: A handbook

(Posted August 2019; updates planned) How do you buy health insurance? We are frequently asked to help people buy health insurance. Our specialty is the cost of health care, not buying insurance. We don’t do individual consultations on what insurance to buy. We’re not really qualified for that, and also people must be certified and […]

Behind the scenes at a health insurer: How the money is made, or why the Medical Loss Ratio matters

Behind the scenes at a health insurer: How the money is made, or why the Medical Loss Ratio matters

A contributor to one of my online communities, Scott Haas, wrote this to the group the other day in the context of what happens behind the scenes in health insurance. His note primarily concerns the Medical Loss Ratio formula and the way it was changed by the Affordable Care Act — and the role of […]

Medical coding and billing: The inside story of how the sausage is made

Medical coding and billing: The inside story of how the sausage is made

Medical coding and billing seems impenetrable — those strings of numbers on  a bill that purport to show what was done, and what was spent. Sometimes it looks as if chimpanzees are typing in random strings of numbers. The bills and explanations arrive months if not years after the event. The numbers are unfamiliar. Memories […]

‘Hospitals’ confusing online price lists give patients a headache’: Us, on CBS News

‘Hospitals’ confusing online price lists give patients a headache’: Us, on CBS News

We were featured on CBS Evening News on Jan. 21, 2019, talking about the new Medicare ruling that hospitals need to publicize their list prices starting Jan. 1, 2019. Here’s the CBS Evening News version, “Hospitals’ confusing online price lists give patients a headache,” with correspondent Anna Werner. Here’s the CBS This Morning version, “Are […]

Medicare head asks Twitter to help enforce price transparency policy

Medicare head asks Twitter to help enforce price transparency policy

Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, called on Twitter a few days ago to help her enforce a new rule on health price transparency. The rule requires hospitals to post their list prices online. It went into effect on Jan. 1, and there was scant information about how it […]