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 […]

Orphan drugs bring bounty for Big Pharma, at a steep price: Shots, NPR

Summary: “Before Luke Whitbeck began taking a $300,000-a-year drug, the 2-year-old’s health was inexplicably failing. A pale boy with enormous eyes, Luke frequently ran high fevers, tired easily and was skinny all over, except his belly stuck out like a bowling ball,” Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin write at NPR in a piece about […]

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 […]

People are hungry for health cost information, new study finds

Summary: Americans are hungry for health cost information, according to a new study by Public Agenda, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. While this was not a total surprise to us, we are interested to see scholarly papers addressing the things people quite often tell us: “No one shops for health care” and “Most people […]