Cracking the Code: Voices from our New Orleans partnership

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

Cracking the Code: Voices from our New Orleans partnership

How do people use our data? We’re often asked. Here are some snippets from real life: Selected emails, comments on stories and Facebook posts from our Cracking the Code partnership with partners WVUE FOX 8 Live and NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. “Less than 18 hours before her scheduled abdominal MRI at Tulane Medical Center, […]

Cash prices stay level, while overall costs continue to rise

Cash prices stay level, while overall costs continue to rise

Summary: A curious thing has happened in health care pricing in this country. While insurance premiums and insured people’s prices for common procedures consistently go up and up and up, cash prices for many common, “shoppable” procedures vary little from year to year. We first started to notice this pattern when we were replicating our […]

10 steps for appealing a claim or bill: Part 2 of our series on billing

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

10 steps for appealing a claim or bill: Part 2 of our series on billing

So you got a huge bill, and you’re sure there’s been a mistake, either in the bill or the insurer’s processing of a claim. You want to appeal, because it’s a lot of money. Here’s a step-by-step course of action. We cannot guarantee that you will win, but at least you will have tried. Read first, […]

How much will that cost/did that cost? Part 1 of a series on billing

How much will that cost/did that cost? Part 1 of a series on billing

(Updated, 2019) How much will that cost? Why did that cost so much? People are getting used to asking this in the health care marketplace. Many of us grew up with the $10 co-pay, but that’s rapidly becoming a thing of the past. With rising deductibles, more out-of-network providers, more uninsured people and more out-of-pocket […]

Ultrasound cost: Saving $1,205, or how people use our data

How do people use our data? Listen: “We recently spent much time trying to find the cost of a fairly routine thyroid ultrasound as we now have a high deductible insurance plan,” said the note to us. “It was extremely frustrating. Even Aetna could not give us expected costs or alternate locations for the test. […]

Shopping for health care: A few thoughts on how to do it

Summary: Yes, people are shopping for health care. Some are better at it than others, and some providers and payers (read: doctors/hospitals and insurers) are better than others about revealing information. We’re always interested to hear when people who haven’t encountered these truths come up against the real world. So when Sarah Kliff, the well-respected […]

Breast cancer while uninsured: One woman’s story

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Breast cancer while uninsured: One woman’s story

“I must admit that I chose to be uninsured,” C. wrote to me. “My work does not provide health insurance and I looked into nystateofhealth.ny.gov during the fall of 2014, excited to have real health care options. I am 33 years old, and could comfortably afford an insurance that was $160 per month. I punched in […]

G.O.P. lawmaker asks for criticism of A.C.A., but doesn’t get it

Summary:  Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Spokane, Wash., decided to look for negative information about the Affordable Care Act. So she wrote on her Facebook page: “This week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer […]

Saving money: Paying cash for health care even if you’re insured

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Saving money: Paying cash for health care even if you’re insured

(Updated, March 2019) People are telling us they are paying cash for common medical procedures, even if they’re insured — and getting lower prices. Is this common? Is it legal? Why don’t more people ask for lower cash rates, and why don’t more providers offer? The situation, as described by two of our community members […]