An ultrasound: $74 or $59,490?

An ultrasound: $74 or $59,490?

Aetna is unhappy: it received high bills from providers and paid them, and now it’s suing. “Aetna Inc. (AET) is suing six New Jersey doctors over medical bills it calls ‘unconscionable,’ including $56,980 for a bedside consultation and $59,490 for an ultrasound that typically costs $74,” Peter Waldman wrote on Bloomberg News on March 24. […]

Prices and reality

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Prices and reality

It seems sometimes that the medical system is a collection of people telling whoppers to each other. Health-care providers tell the insurance company that a procedure or a thing costs a bunch of money. The insurance company tells the consumer that the price is something completely different. The doctor tells the patient that she doesn’t […]

Comparison shopping, rationing, hospital bills and more

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Comparison shopping, rationing, hospital bills and more

There’s an app for that: “Picture it: Your doctor tells you that you need an MRI. Okeydoke, you say, pulling out your smartphone and typing in your zipcode. Up pop the 20 closest high-quality imaging centers, and you choose the most convenient. That’s my visualization based on a casual mention that Blue Cross Blue Shield chief Andrew Dreyfus made last week of a new app now in development. ‘We’re pretty close to delivering this,’ he told a health reform forum at Suffolk.” Carey Goldberg, CommonHealth blogger at WBUR. More.

The pros and cons of health-cost transparency

Filed Under: Uncategorized

The pros and cons of health-cost transparency

Arguments for and against transparency in health-care pricing are featured in a New England Journal of Medicine piece published March 10, 2011. An excerpt: “It is difficult to defend the obscuring of health care prices. The challenges associated with leveraging price transparency to moderate overall health care spending, however, may explain the limited role that […]

Executive pay and health-care costs

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Executive pay and health-care costs

One of the reasons health-care costs are so high is executive pay. Of the nation’s top 100 highest-paid CEO’s, 19 are from the health-care field, starting out with Fred Hassan at Merck, who earned $49,653,063 in 2009, according to the top 100 database the AFL-CIO has collected via salary.com and posted  on its Web site. […]

Groupons for Health Care Services: No-Brainer or Legal Minefield?

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Groupons for Health Care Services: No-Brainer or Legal Minefield?

Groupons for Health Care Services: “We’ve all bought Groupons for a wide variety of goods and services — dinner at a new restaurant, a periodical subscription, clothing, a hot air balloon ride — but most of us have not bought a Groupon for health care services. Thus far, the health care offerings via Groupon seem to […]

Money, strategy, politics

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Money, strategy, politics

“Everyone involved [in health care in the U.S.] is preparing for an uncertain future by attempting to maximize their advantage at the start, a strategy that pushes everything up.  All seem to have absorbed the unspoken central message that the reformed system aims to reduce consumption.” –Jim Jaffe from centeredpolitics.com on one unintended effect of […]