If you are one of the millions of people suffering under our broken healthcare system, take heart.
Industry leaders who recognize your pain actually exist, and are trying to help.
Changing the system is a huge and thankless task, because the bulk of the industry is profit-driven and resistant to giving up the status quo.
But these individuals and groups are using different ways to connect with increasing numbers of people, and they are becoming louder and stronger.
Will it be enough? Time will tell.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the problems in healthcare and what you can … Continue reading
Avoid the emergency room
Fridays, weekends and holidays are always bad times to get a doctor’s appointment, and many people end up in an emergency department. Which costs a lot of money, even for those with health insurance.
What can you do to decrease your chances of needing emergency care or other expensive healthcare over the holidays?
An emergency physician recently posted some good tips on the healthcare blog KevinMD, and I’ve included a few of my own.
- Refill your prescription medications before the holidays.
- Participate in winter activities, such as skiing or ice skating, safely. Use recommended safety equipment.
… Continue reading
Eyeglasses are too expensive!
Let me start with a disclosure: I’m not in any way affiliated with Zenni Optical; I just think they have a good product at a reasonable price and wanted to share my family’s experience.
My husband and I have an individual health insurance plan that does not include vision. When we need new glasses or contacts, we have to pay the full price.
I think it’s important to get an eye exam at least every two years, but because of the expense I only get new glasses every four or five years. And shopping for … Continue reading
An ambulance ride is often a hidden (and costly) expense
Kaiser Health News just published an article about patients being stuck with outrageously high bills for ambulance rides.
One patient got a $3,660 bill for a 4-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from one hospital that could not handle his case to another that could.
Several years ago when my husband ended up in an emergency room (long story—read my About page), he needed to be transferred to another hospital that was about half a mile away.
The ambulance ride for that short trip cost close to … Continue reading
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