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
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
“Trying to make medicine great again”
I’ve been a fan of Zubin Damania, MD—aka ZDoggMD—for several years. A hospitalist physician based in Las Vegas, he began by making entertaining parody videos on a variety of healthcare topics: end-of-life, the opioid epidemic, electronic health records (EHR), sepsis, sleep apnea, and more.
Now he has expanded his social media footprint in an attempt to rally healthcare professionals behind Healthcare 3.0.
As he explains in the video, Healthcare 1.0 was the old doctor-patient relationship—”Doctor knows best” and all that (I still know doctors and nurses who … Continue reading
“An American Sickness”
I love Elisabeth Rosenthal’s work.
She’s a medical journalist (an MD, but no longer practicing) who wrote a brilliant series of articles on the high cost of healthcare for the New York Times a few years ago.
Now she has a book on the same topic. Because, of course, our healthcare system with its punishing costs for services, drugs and insurance has not improved. If anything, it’s worse.
As a physician, Dr. Rosenthal has experienced first hand the perverse incentives—illness being more profitable than health, after all—and lack of price transparency in our healthcare system. Her book … Continue reading
More tests = more money
Anyone who has read my blog over the years knows this is a subject I come back to again and again: the overuse of screening and diagnostic tests.
It’s a problem in our healthcare system for a couple of reasons.
First, the majority of healthcare providers are paid based on volume. In other words, the more patients they see, the more tests they run, the more surgeries they perform, then the more they get paid. It doesn’t matter if the outcome is poor, because they still get paid. In fact, they make even more money … Continue reading
Taxpayers footing the bill
I watched this on my local news the other night: Runaway drug price hikes squeeze Washington’s budget.
Our state is one that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so I knew we were spending a lot. But I had no idea now much. Through the first 9 months of 2016, my state has spent $1.1 billion on prescription drugs.
Not total medical care. Just prescription drugs.
And Washington is not the only state facing a fiscal nightmare because of skyrocketing drug costs.
Almost half of that spending is for the really high-priced specialty … 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