Category: Out-Of-Pocket Costs

Loopholes Limit New California Law To Guard Against Lofty Air Ambulance Bills

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Michelle Andrews Kathleen Hoechlin lost control as she crested a small jump on her final ski run of the day at California’s Mammoth Mountain two years ago. She landed hard on her back, crushing one of the vertebra in her lower spine “like a Cheerio,” she said. An air ambulance flew Hoechlin, then 32, to ….  Read More

Paying It Forward: ‘Bill Of The Month’ Series, A Vital Toolkit For Patients, Wraps Year 2

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Hannah Norman, Kaiser Health News In 2018, KHN and NPR launched “Bill of the Month,” a crowdsourced investigation in which we dissect, investigate and explain medical bills you send us. In telling the story behind one patient’s bill each month, our goal is to understand the genesis of the often exorbitant and baffling charges that ….  Read More

Loophole Averted After Surprise-Bill Brouhaha In Texas

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It appears Texas will get one of the strongest laws in the nation against surprise medical bills after all. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, wavered last month when the Texas Medical Board drafted the rules for its implementation. The board, made up of health care providers, tried to get a blanket exception to ….  Read More

Analysis: In Medical Billing, Fraudulent Charges Weirdly Pass As Legal

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Elisabeth Rosenthal Much of what we accept as legal in medical billing would be regarded as fraud in any other sector. I have been circling around this conclusion for the past five years, as I’ve listened to patients’ stories while covering health care as a journalist and author. Now, after a summer of firsthand experience ….  Read More

The Startlingly High Cost Of The ‘Free’ Flu Shot

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In the Byzantine world of health care pricing, most people wouldn’t expect that the ubiquitous flu shot could be a prime example of how the system’s lack of transparency can lead to disparate costs. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover all federally recommended vaccines at no charge to patients, including flu immunizations. ….  Read More

White House Unveils Finalized Health Care Price Transparency Rule

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Hospitals will soon have to share price information they have long kept obscured — including how big a discount they offer cash-paying patients and rates negotiated with insurers — under a rule finalized Friday by the Trump administration. In a companion proposal, the administration announced it is also planning to require health insurers to spell ….  Read More

Going Down Fighting: Dying Activist Champions ‘Medicare For All’

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When Santa Barbara lawyer-turned-activist Ady Barkan settled in to watch the second round of the Democratic presidential primary debates late last month, he had no idea his story would be part of the heated discussion. Barkan, 35, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, watched from his wheelchair as ….  Read More