The price of birth-control pills

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

19921992
The price of birth-control pills

“For millions of American women, birth control is beyond their reach,” writes Debra Marcus, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of South Central New York. “For uninsured women, out-of-pocket costs are prohibitive; even for women with health insurance, related co-payments are often unaffordable. More than a third of women have struggled with the cost of […]

Best low-cost health insurance picks

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans

19821982
Best low-cost health insurance picks

Just another thing Quora is good for: advice about shopping for the best low-cost health insurance, from the commonsensical Art Forrest, who I don’t know (he is an insurance broker in Georgia) and who offers this advice about buying low-cost health insurance: “(1) use a broker you trust who will shop the market for you […]

Ways to Save, Part 2: Even in an emergency, ask the price

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

19661966
Ways to Save, Part 2: Even in an emergency, ask the price

As part of our mission to help you save money by beating back your health-care costs, we’re running a series of blog posts giving practical consumer advice about the marketplace. Here’s the first post about saving money; following is the second. Even if it’s an emergency, ask the price in advance. If you’re in a […]

The Day: Ambulances, rising costs, insurance

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

19421942
The Day: Ambulances, rising costs, insurance

Out-Of-Network Ambulance Rides Can Bring Out-Of-Pocket Expenses. This spring, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts launched a policy aimed at getting more emergency medical services providers to join its network: It began sending checks for out-of-network private ambulance rides directly to plan members rather than to the EMS providers. The move forces these providers to pursue consumers […]

Meet my friend in the billing office, Part 2

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Meet my friend in the billing office, Part 2

Did you ever wonder why the bill from your medical provider is $3,000, while the insurance company pays only a paltry few hundred dollars? There’s a reason. Walk with me through the billing office of a self-standing New York radiology center with my friend S. (Here’s our first visit to her office, complete with her […]

The Day: Payments denied, reform

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

18961896
The Day: Payments denied, reform

Insurance companies deny payments for treatments doctors recommend, with increasing frequency. “Last month insurance tried to deny another patient of mine an in-hospital kidney biopsy after three years of multiple hospital admissions for uncontrolled hypertension. Finally after approval, the biopsy revealed a condition called IgA nephropathy that was responsible for her kidney dysfunction and high […]

Uninsured patients pay more: A first-person account

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

19011901
Uninsured patients pay more: A first-person account

A friend came over to fill out our “tell us what you paid” forms. I’ve taken out some of the details, and left others. “Kidnapped by ambulance” might be a better headline for this, a $2,859 unreimbursed emergency room experience (and don’t miss the $1,699 blood test). I did know that uninsured people pay the […]

If you’re uninsured, Part 2: The options

18821882
If you’re uninsured, Part 2: The options

Welcome to Part 2 of our handbook for people who are uninsured. We’re planning several articles in this series, much as we have started publishing our “Ways to Save” series, and we’ll then  archive them on the site. Here’s Part I of the uninsured series. The best way to start shopping for insurance is to know […]

Around the marketplace: Quick hits

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans

18631863
Around the marketplace: Quick hits

  I just picked up a prescription for one of my twin daughters. The CVS pharmacy first thought the prescription was for her twin sister, who’s in their computer; the charge was $10. When the person at the counter finally figured out it was a different daughter, who wasn’t in the computer, and changed the […]

The Health Data Initiative: A gathering of wonks

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The Health Data Initiative: A gathering of wonks

  ClearHealthCosts.com got a lot of love at the Health Data Initiative forum at the National Institutes of Health in Washington on Thursday, June 9. Todd Park, chief technology officer of the Department of Health and Human Services, was one of the people who praised the the newly launched site when I showed it to […]