In Montana, a tough negotiator proved employers don’t have to pay so much for health care: ProPublica

In Montana, a tough negotiator proved employers don’t have to pay so much for health care: ProPublica

“Marilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state’s foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families,” Marshall Allen writes over at ProPublica. “The officials were listening. […]

Health insurers are vacuuming up details about you: ProPublica

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Health insurers are vacuuming up details about you: ProPublica

“To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling,” Marshall Allen writes over at ProPublica, in a story jointly published with NPR. “A handful of companies pitching ‘lifestyle’ data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like ‘social determinants of health.’ But dig deeper and the implications […]

More honors: We’re named a top journalism collaboration of 2017

Filed Under: Costs

More honors: We’re named a top journalism collaboration of 2017

Our “Cracking the Code” collaboration has been named one of the year’s “notable collaborations” by Stefanie Murray at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Others: The Guardian, ProPublica, the Paradise Papers, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. “As the number of partnerships happening across the journalism industry increases, the journalism being produced out […]

Appealing a denial, or how to turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’: Part 3 of our series on billing

Appealing a denial, or how to turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’: Part 3 of our series on billing

So your insurance company denied a treatment or a medication, in advance, and you want help. This is part of our series on billing advice (see below for other entries.) Here are a few steps. Understand the reason for the denial. Ask that it be clearly stated, in writing, and that the appeal process for […]

The myth of drug expiration dates: ProPublica

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

The myth of drug expiration dates: ProPublica

“The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing,” Marshall Allen writes at ProPublica. “Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless. But to Lee Cantrell, who helps […]

Our ‘Guide to Crowdsourcing’ for Tow Center at Columbia University

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

Summary: Crowdsourcing is a growing practice in journalism, one of the conclusions we drew in our recent “How-To Guide to Crowdsourcing” for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of the Tow  Center’s ongoing research on the cutting edge of […]

Doctor discipline: Resources for judging quality in health care

Filed Under: Costs, Health reform

Summary: When we display prices for medical treatments, inevitably the question of quality comes up. Since price and quality are both hidden from public view in health care, we are always excited to see some source — any source — of quality information. One source: doctor disciplinary listings. CLICK HERE FOR PRICES    

Talking about medical quality: Consider the source

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Summary: Measuring quality is a constant challenge in health care: quality of providers, quality of hospitals, quality of drugs, quality of treatments. Much of what’s out there is conflicting or written for professionals. A lot of quality information is actually delivered in the form of marketing materials, written to induce patients and providers to choose […]

The new Medicare payment data release: 2 experts set the stage

Filed Under: Costs, Regulators

SUMMARY: A big release of data from Medicare, on what doctors got paid what for doing what, is coming in hours. There’s a lot of debate about it — the American Medical Association resisted, and then stopped resisting — and the mystery about what’s in the data has been building for months. For a sneak […]