It’s not that simple
Last night on the local news I watched a story about health care costs. The reporter, a consumer affairs specialist, talked about the expanding trend in health care of high-deductible medical insurance plans. Under the ACA, family annual deductibles can reach up to $12,700 (increasing to $12,900 for 2015); whatever your deductible, you pay your medical bills out of pocket until that deductible is met.
The uninsured, of course, just pay out of pocket.
Related post: Health insurance basics, part 1
The reporter encouraged us to
…take some time to research, and see what the
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Fall (and flu) is in the air
Tomorrow will be the first full day of autumn and my thoughts naturally turn to . . . influenza. Yes, that’s how my mind works.
I’m already seeing flu shots advertised at my local grocery store pharmacy, and at other chain drug stores in my neighborhood.
Flu season typically runs from November to March, but no one can predict with accuracy exactly when the first cases will start showing up or when the season will end–sometimes as early as October to as late as May. It’s unpredictable as well how severe the upcoming … Continue reading
What’s in your medical chart?
I like books about writing and the English language, and the other day I picked up a book titled The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos by Richard Lederer.
Among all the entertaining examples of mixed metaphors, slaughtered syntax and runaway sentences was a chapter with a medical twist. The American Association of Medical Transcriptionists had submitted a few gems of mangled English gleaned from physicians’ dictations. The results are some pretty hilarious chart notes.
I worked as a medical transciptionist for several years before and during nursing school, … Continue reading
Last week there was another warning in our local newspaper that a person diagnosed with measles had traveled through our airport. The article advised anyone who was at the airport during that particular time frame, and who might not be vaccinated and/or might be pregnant, to talk to their health care provider.
Measles is very contagious and can be especially dangerous to pregnant women.
In light of continuing misinformation about vaccinations, and the possibility that more unvaccinated children will be in our schools due to the influx of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, I decided to republish this post … Continue reading
Be a proactive patient
In addition to talking to my doctor friends, I spend a lot of time reading various doctor blogs because I want to better understand our health care system from their unique point of view.
The majority of those I read seem to agree with me that the industry has morphed into a giant profit-making machine—profits first, patients second. Many physicians write of their loss of autonomy and the ability to treat patients in a thoughtful, patient-centered and cost-effective way.
More than ever, they say, patients need to be informed and take control of their health care. … Continue reading
A banana a day?
We’ve all heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” (thank you, Benjamin Franklin!), but a potassium-rich banana might help, too.
A recent study looking at stroke risk in post-menopausal women (ages 50-79) found that, overall, women with the highest dietary potassium intake were 12% less likely to suffer a stroke.
And women who didn’t have high blood pressure and ate a lot of potassium-rich foods had a 21% lower risk of stroke.
But don’t go running to the drugstore for potassium supplements! This study didn’t look at the effect of potassium supplements … Continue reading
Are annual exams a waste of money?
Based on the most recent evidence, I would argue yes. I posted about annual exams a few months ago, and quoted the following from the Society for General Internal Medicine (a primary care specialty group):
Routine general health checks are office visits between a health professional and a patient exclusively for preventive counseling and screening tests. In contrast to office visits for acute illness, specific evidence-based preventive strategies, or chronic care management such as treatment of high blood pressure, regularly scheduled general health checks without a specific cause including the “health maintenance” annual
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What is health tourism and why Puerto Rico?
I read the other day that Puerto Rico wants to jump into the medical tourism ring and compete with those countries where it is already pretty well established, such as Mexico and Costa Rica.
Medical tourism, as the name implies, is traveling to another country to receive more affordable medical care.
[Puerto Rico’s] administration says that it commissioned a market study from which it deduces that medical costs on the island are between 40 percent and 60 percent lower than in the mainland U.S.
Such a move, if successful, could be a … Continue reading
The debate continues
Aargh! Last month the media picked up on three studies in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the association between how much salt we eat and our health.
Unfortunately, the studies didn’t do much to clear up the confusion surrounding how much salt we should be getting in our diets. In fact, popular reporting on the subject did little other than stir up more fear over what we eat.
The world has an increasingly high taste for salty foods — a taste that new research suggests leads to to 1.65 million excess deaths annually.
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Start the conversation early
There’s an ongoing joke in health care circles that “Scientific studies continue to show that 100% of Americans eventually die.”
And yet, judging by the amount of money spent on medical care in the last 6 months of life, we make every effort to deny that eventuality.
It seems that no matter how much money you use during that last year/month, if the person is sick enough, the effort makes things worse. A lot of the money being spent is not only not helping, it is making that patient endure more bad experiences on a
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