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November 2013
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African-Americans Hardest Hit By Medical Bills

When we think of Americans struggling with medical bills, we often think of the big-ticket medical emergencies like cancer, but a new study points at another issue which plagues African-Americans, chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes:

A poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 24 . . . → Read More: African-Americans Hardest Hit By Medical Bills

Medical Bills: Are We Really Better Off With the Mechanic?

Dr. Davis Liu has an interesting blog on the trend towards asking patients to “shop around” for their healthcare, comparing it to a recent visit to his mechanic:

My car dealer service advisor returns. The battery and the fog light are not available until the next day. It will take him at least until tomorrow . . . → Read More: Medical Bills: Are We Really Better Off With the Mechanic?

Study: Cancer Patients Reluctant To Ask About Costs of Treatments

If only. A new study finds that cancer patients are reluctant to ask about the costs of their treatment. Sadly, doctors aren’t really any better:

Although more than half the participants said they wanted to talk about cost with their physicians, only 19 percent had actually done so. Yet 57 percent of those who did . . . → Read More: Study: Cancer Patients Reluctant To Ask About Costs of Treatments

One in Five Struggles To Pay Medical Bills

If you’ve ever wondered about the high rate of medical bankruptcy in this country, it’s not hard to see how it starts:

A new government report finds about one in five Americans face problems paying their medical bills, but things may be improving.

Statisticians at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for . . . → Read More: One in Five Struggles To Pay Medical Bills

Cloudy Future for One Boston Survivor

For many of us, the Boston bombing may feel like it was eons ago, but survivors are still in the thick of many issues:

Marc Fucarile reached a huge milestone this week: He was one of the last two Boston Marathon survivors to be released from the hospital. Fucarile spent 45 days in Massachusetts . . . → Read More: Cloudy Future for One Boston Survivor

Would We Just Be Better Off Without Health Insurance?

One Portland, Maine doctor seems to think so. And has the experience to prove it:

Dr. Michael Ciampi announced on April 1st that he would no longer be accepting insurance in any form as payment for his services.

But this was no April Fool’s joke: Dr. Ciampi says he decided to cut out the middleman . . . → Read More: Would We Just Be Better Off Without Health Insurance?

Hospital Bill Nightmare Sunday

Time Magazine followed up Steven Brill’s now infamous cover story on medical billing by asking readers to share their own stories, and they’re worth a read:

Alexandria Brooks, 46, of Hernando, Florida, was recently charged $999,932 for a month-and-a-half hospital stay for double pneumonia, which later developed into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). She wanted . . . → Read More: Hospital Bill Nightmare Sunday

Family Medical Costs to Exceed Cost of Groceries in 2013

Quick! What does your family spend more on, medical costs or groceries? Well, don’t look now, but the answer might surprise you:

The cost of medical care “now exceeds the cost of groceries” for the typical American family with health insurance coverage through their employer, a new study shows.

The 2013 Milliman Medical Index, . . . → Read More: Family Medical Costs to Exceed Cost of Groceries in 2013

High-Deductible Health Insurance: My Mama Told Me, You Better Shop Around…

And the high-deductible health insurance plan is all part of the new normal:

When Maria and Vadim Brodsky’s then 7-year-old daughter needed an MRI two years ago to examine a tumor in her head, they took her to a hospital in their health plan’s network and were dismayed to receive a $4,500 bill.

The couple . . . → Read More: High-Deductible Health Insurance: My Mama Told Me, You Better Shop Around…

Cedars-Sinai Tops Lists for Hospital Pricing

Not sure if this is a list that any hospital wants to be at the top of:

When Medicare disclosed average charges from thousands of U.S. hospitals for 100 common procedures last week, only one hospital was near the top in every category: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Be it a cardiac stent, a . . . → Read More: Cedars-Sinai Tops Lists for Hospital Pricing