Traditional and expensive
This week I received a letter from my health insurance company. My plan’s benefits will remain the same, but the monthly premium will be 21% higher.
That means health insurance for me and my husband now officially costs more than our mortgage. And it’s just a bronze-level plan with a $7,000 deductible (each)!
I really feel for other families receiving similar letters about similar rate hikes. Some families will have to make a difficult decision—will health insurance in 2018 be just too expensive?
There are alternatives to traditional health insurance policies, and I’ve posted about them before. … Continue reading
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month
October has become the month to pressure women to Buy Pink! and schedule their annual mammograms.
But I’d rather see more women informed about the effectiveness of annual mammograms (not as much as you might think).
And I’d like to see more care providers drop the paternal attitudes and really have a conversation with women about the pros and cons of screening mammograms, and how (or if) this diagnostic tool should be used to meet their health care goals.
I’ve written many posts on this topic, so please check them out!
… Continue reading
Brown bag your meds to a local pharmacist
Are you or a family member taking multiple prescription medications? Are you taking them along with several other over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements?
If so, you might want to take advantage of this one-day event.
Saturday, Oct. 21, is the first ever National Check Your Meds Day, sponsored by Consumer Reports and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and supported by pharmacists in the community.
Why is this event an important health service?
Consumer Reports explains:
With half of Americans regularly taking prescription medication—four, on average, according
… Continue reading
Higher drug prices = higher health costs
Soon we’ll be finding out how much our health insurance will cost next year. Premiums are set to rise by double digits across the country.
Related post: Premium increases for 2018. Ouch
While uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is partly responsible, insurance companies put the biggest blame on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.
Why are prescription drugs so expensive? To understand the problem in less than 2 minutes, watch this YouTube video…
As the video points out, Medicare can’t negotiate lower … Continue reading
The health care debate rages on.
Atul Gawande, one of my favorite physician-authors, wrote an article on this topic last week in The New Yorker magazine.
He spoke to residents in his home state of Ohio and posed the question, “Is health care a right or a privilege?” He listened to their stories of unexpected illness, lost jobs and medical bankruptcy. Yet none of them thought their health insurance should be free—just fair and affordable.
In our current crazy quilt system, those who do best are the very poor and the very rich. The majority of us, myself included, are … Continue reading
In response to last Sunday’s tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, I’m re-posting this information about Stop the Bleeding, a program to educate lay people to respond to emergencies and control bleeding. If you haven’t already, take a first aid class! You might save a life. FN
Surgeons want the public to learn this skill
I taught first aid classes for the American Red Cross for many years. To control excessive bleeding, we showed students how to apply pressure directly on a wound, or at pressure points in the groin and upper arm.
We did not teach how … Continue reading
Fast treatment can save a life
Last weekend I spent a day in the emergency room, sitting with a friend who suffered a heart attack.
Thankfully, he survived to tell his story. And after talking to him, and listening to what the doctor said about the severity of the heart attack, I know he was a very lucky man.
Lucky because shortly after he started having heart attack symptoms, someone recognized them and immediately called 911. And that saved his life.
Not only did it save his life, but early medical intervention (a balloon angioplasty and stent) lessened the damage … Continue reading
You need to plan ahead!
The back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the widespread wildfires in my state, have me thinking about emergency preparedness.
There are lots of websites that tell you how to plan and what to pack. Most suggest having enough food, water and equipment for at least 3 days.
They also advise stockpiling prescription meds and keeping a copy of the prescription in your emergency kit.
But none of these sites seems to realize how difficult it is these days to horde even a small number of extra meds.
That’s because the cost of so … Continue reading
Need more info? Check out these vaccination resources
In 1998, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was FALSELY reported to be associated with autism.
The doctor who published that report has since been disgraced and the report itself debunked. In fact, research has shown again and again that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
However, the fear persists. Worse, the fear extends to ALL vaccines, not just the MMR.
What happens when a significant number of children aren’t vaccinated? We get disease outbreaks, such as the recent outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and … Continue reading
Choosing Wisely to prevent overtreatment
I’ve been a fan of the healthcare consumer group, Choosing Wisely, for several years.
Collaborating with Consumer Reports, Choosing Wisely brings evidence-based healthcare information to patients. Their goal is to educate patients and physicians, and support informed decision making.
Shared decision making not only prevents patient harm from overtreating, but brings down escalating healthcare costs by eliminating unnecessary diagnostic tests and procedures. (Healthcare waste accounts for billions of dollars every year!)
Now it’s even easier to get access to their information.
The healthcare app, iTriage, has added 160 of Choosing Wisely’s recommendations to … Continue reading