Health costs rising: That frightening chart

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Health care costs are rising in the United States; that’s no surprise to anyone. But as we think about what’s happening to our own health costs, and those of the people and institutions surrounding us (government, schools, businesses, friends, parents) it’s useful to have comparative information. So we’re reproducing the scary chart from the Organization […]

How brand drug coupons work to raise health costs

Filed Under: Uncategorized

“Prescription copay coupon marketing programs, which encourage insured consumers to select branded rather than generic drugs, will increase US health care costs by $32 billion over the next decade, according to a new study.” Lynn Taylor, Online Pharma Times.  

When $625 = $2,450 = $450

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Cancer patients have a terrible disease — and then terrible billing problems, as we’ve written before here and here. Here’s another horror story, when $625 = $2,450 = $450, as described by a cancer patient in Florida, talking about her  charges for an MRI and a biopsy treatment, and the ensuing bills. “The woman who […]

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 […]

For Portland, a new medical model

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

A new entrant in the transparency marketplace is Sprig Health in Portland, Ore. Sprig’s Web site lets patients book appointments (a la ZocDoc) and also pay up front, at rates that are sometimes startlingly low to those of us who follow prices (and sometimes startlingly high). “Sprig Health offers discounted rates through a highly efficient […]

Overuse and misdiagnosis: The M.R.I. and The Times

Filed Under: Uncategorized

  There’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking story by Gina Kolata in The Times about overuse of M.R.I. tests and resulting misdiagnosis and mistreatment. Read it, every word. She quotes one doctor as saying: “An M.R.I. is unlike any other imaging tool we use. ,It is a very sensitive tool, but it is not very specific. […]

Getting a price quote ahead of surgery

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

“How much should a knee replacement cost?” It’s a topic Dr. Blair Rhode writes about on an orthopedic surgery web site, about bringing a retail method to medical pricing. “If an uninsured patient went to a local hospital and asked to pay cash for a knee replacement, they would likely be quoted a number close to […]