Wait for the EOB
EOB stands for Explanation of Benefits.
It’s the form from your insurance company that shows how much your healthcare provider was reimbursed for your office visit, lab work, x-rays, etc.
Typically it arrives at your house before the individual bills from the provider, which show the balance owing, or what you are expected to pay.
Keep this in mind: Don’t pay a medical bill until you’ve compared the services and charges to your EOB!
Insurance claims can be wrong
A few months ago my husband had his annual physical. About a week before his visit, he … Continue reading
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
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
Unnecessary tests = unnecessary expense
This is a follow up to my last post about the dangers of too much medical care.
One of the biggest doors leading to an overabundance of healthcare and healthcare costs is the annual exam and all the “routine” lab work that is ordered almost without thought.
Doctors’ offices strive to be efficient. They have a lot of patients to see every day, after all.
One way they streamline their practices is to set up routine or “standing” orders for common lab tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis (UA), … Continue reading
What are PSAPs?
PSAP stands for Personal Sound Amplification Product.
They are available at Target or Walmart or Amazon for a fraction of the price of a traditional physician-prescribed hearing aid.
BUT…they can’t actually be called hearing aids and they can’t be marketed as a treatment for hearing loss. That’s because they are currently not regulated as medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA will only allow them to be sold as sound “amplifiers” to help with recreational activities, such as hunting, bird watching or eavesdropping 😉
Not being hard of hearing … Continue reading
What is deprescribing?
As an advocate for less medicine and better health, I love the latest healthcare trend of “deprescribing,” or cutting down the number of prescription drugs a patient is taking.
Dr. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage explains the importance of deprescribing in this video:
Polypharmacy—taking multiple prescription drugs—has become much more common over the last couple of decades. There are more drugs than ever on the market, and the drug companies are spending billions of dollars to make sure we know all about them.
Related post: Bohemian Polypharmacy
The elderly are especially … Continue reading
Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new epinephrine auto-injector, Symjepi.
I don’t much like the name, but if it’s cheaper…!
I’ve posted several times about the skyrocketing cost of EpiPens—over 500% in the last 10 years.
Anyone who, like me, has been shocked at the pharmacy to discover how much a two-pack of EpiPens costs will be hoping Symjepi will be more affordable.
It won’t be available on the market until later this year, so I don’t know yet how much it will cost. But Adamis Pharmceuticals, the company that makes Symjepi, … 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