Insurance broker commissions: Medical treatment? Hmmm.

  Commissions are big money for brokers. And how do we know? That’s the primary pay structure for many brokers — the service they provide, in navigating customers to a policy they want, and navigating insurers to customers they want, results in a commission. It’s not always clear who the winner or the loser is, […]

A portrait of the uninsured: Skipping care

Low-income people spend longer amounts of time being uninsured, and skip needed care because they’re uninsured, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund. This in itself may not be surprising, but the depths of the problem are: 35 percent of low-income families and 18 percent of moderate-income families have been uninsured for two […]

RPN of California, home of the $295 MRI

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Editor’s note: RPN has closed, as of fall 2013. Cutting the cost of an MRI is the focus of Robert Cloutier (pictured below), who runs RPN of California, a low-cost MRI services network headquartered in Ontario, Calif. As a startup, RPN is offering an MRI for $295 at its office in San Diego, a cost savings of over 50% when compared to […]

Costs of Care: Heart failure treatment, $100

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Costs of Care (Twitter: @CostsOfCare), where this post was originally published, is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that helps caregivers deflate medical bills and provide high value care. As part of the 2011 Costs of Care Essay Contest, more than 100 anecdotes were shared by patients and providers around the country that illustrate the role of cost-awareness in […]

Aetna profits up: revenue’s the same, but claims are down

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Revenue is up slightly, but claims are down at the health insurer Aetna, meaning that the company posted a sharply higher quarterly profit. Because of the low use of health services by members, in connection with the weak economy, “Aetna spent 80.7 percent of its premium revenue on medical claims in the quarter, well below the 83 […]

On high-deductible plans, people spend less

Families with high-deductible health plans tend to delay or forgo health care because of the cost, according to a new study by a team of Harvard researchers. The study, by phone and mail, questioned 208 families in high-deductible health plans and 370 in traditional plans. Membership in a high-deductible plan and lower income “were each […]

Health costs don’t rise as quickly — but don’t celebrate

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

  “Health care spending experienced historically low rates of growth in 2009 and 2010 as the impact of the recent recession continued to affect the purchasers, providers, and sponsors of health care,” the journal Health Affairs reports in a new article. But what does this mean? Does it mean that the nation’s  health costs have […]

Paying cash for medical care, and mini-med policies

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

About 1,500 doctors across the country are in a group called SimpleCare, which steers patients to doctors who offer cash discounts, SimpleCare says on its Web site. The No Insurance Club, which is headquartered in Arizona with participating physicians in 13 states, offers prepaid health care plans for an annual fee of $480 for singles […]

Health insurance costs more, covers fewer people

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

  “Polling released in November by Gallup showed the smallest percentage of American adults covered by employer- sponsored health insurance since the polling organization began tracking health insurance in 2008. As of the third quarter of 2011, 44.5% of adults were covered at work. That’s down from 50% at the end of 2008,” says an […]

Mad as Hell Doctors: Advocating for single-payer health care

Dr. Samuel Metz, an anesthesiologist from Willamette Valley, Ore., is a member of Mad as Hell Doctors and an advocate for a single-payer health-care system. Mad As Hell Doctors is the creation of two Oregon single-payer advocates, Adam Klugman and Gary Jelinek. Frustrated with their efforts to get single-payer health care into the public eye, they envisioned […]