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
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
My peek into the future
Health insurance companies in my state finally submitted their requests for 2018 rate hikes.
Usually I can look up this info online by mid-May, but all the partisan and intra-party bickering over the future of healthcare in this country has left insurance companies scratching their figurative heads over how to price next year’s policies.
I remember a time when I never gave my health insurance much thought. Like my car or home insurance, it didn’t change much year to year, and was simply there when I needed it.
But for the last ten years or … Continue reading
My guest post today is from Matthew Bahr, a healthcare finance specialist.
I’ve posted about surprise medical bills before. Sadly, they are becoming more common as healthcare costs continue to rise and provider networks shrink.
Consumer Reports estimates about one third of patients with health insurance receive these unexpectedly high medical bills.
Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your tips and expertise with my readers! FN
Although we know healthcare costs a lot of money, it still stings when we see that bill.
You might think because you’re insured, your insurance will cover most or many of the costs. But … Continue reading
Happy New (Calendar) Year!
It’s the start of a new year or, in health insurance lingo, the start of a new calendar year deductible. I’m reposting this from last January, because this month is the best time to start trying to schedule that annual exam or annual wellness visit (it could take weeks, after all, to get an appointment!).
I usually advise people to get any screening tests or annual exams done early in the year, just in case an abnormality is found and more testing/treatment is necessary.
Especially with the current trend towards enormous deductibles (up to $14,300 for … Continue reading
My goal for 2017? Use as little healthcare as possible
How will healthcare change under a new president and political party?
That’s a question I can’t answer. As I wrote in my last post, both candidates had multiple-point plans to tweak/improve/repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA or Obamacare.
But I don’t know what will change or when.
What I know for sure is that for 2017 my premiums will be 20% more expensive, my co-insurance and co-pays will be higher, and my current primary care doctor will no longer be in-network.
I can and will shop around … Continue reading
I started this blog four years ago, the day after President Obama won the general election. I needed an instrument to give voice to my frustrations and fears about the direction of our country’s health and healthcare policy.
I just re-read what I wrote back then:
So, the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare, as it’s commonly known), having survived its precipitous birth and a few close-calls with death, is poised to enter a prolonged and awkward adolescence.
I am not a huge fan of Obamacare because it seems to be more health insurance reform than health care reform.
… Continue reading
Prevnar 13: As seen on TV
I was watching TV the other evening and, as usual, was forced to sit through multiple back-to-back prescription drug commercials.
One that caught my attention was for Prevnar 13, which is one of the pneumonia vaccines. (13 because it protects against 13 strains of streptococcus pneumonia.)
The commercial stated Prevnar 13 was for adults aged 50 and older.
That statement’s true, but needs some clarification.
Yes, Pfizer did get FDA approval a few years ago to market Prevnar 13 to adults over the age of 50. Previously, the vaccine was only used for … Continue reading
Up, up and away!
Does anyone’s income go up as fast as their health insurance premium? I wish.
11.6%. That’s how much more my current health insurance provider wants to charge for my bronze high-deductible health plan in 2017.
And although 11.6% seems like a lot to me, another company in my state is requesting a 19.9% average increase on all its plans, with a 28% increase on its gold plan!
So far, the rate increases that have been made public in other states are all pretty high, averaging well into the double digits. So at least I’m not … Continue reading
Shared decision-making makes better informed patients, and better informed patients use less health care.
…as many as 20% of patients who participate in shared decision making choose less invasive surgical options and more conservative treatment than do patients who do not use decision aids.
Which lowers health care costs.
…a 2012 study…showed that providing decision aids to patients eligible for hip and knee replacements substantially reduced both surgery rates and costs — with up to 38% fewer surgeries and savings of 12 to 21% over 6 months.
[It’s] estimated that implementing shared decision making for just 11 procedures would
… Continue reading