Tag Archives: costs

Reporter explores impact of medical credit cards on dental debt

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Manuela-Tobias

Manuela Tobias

Dental patients in need of costly procedures may turn to medical credit cards to pay for the services. But these cards, which often include deferred-interest provisions, can pose risks.

If consumers do not fully understand the terms or fall behind on payments, they can end up facing inflated bills and crippling dental debts, as Fresno Bee reporter Manuela Tobias explained in a recent investigative piece. Continue reading

Scrutiny of hospital charges likely to intensify in wake of pandemic

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

hospital-roomAs the nation’s hospitals strain to keep up with the demand to care for COVID-19 patients, it seems almost unfair to ask how much all of this treatment will cost. Still, we know that the costs will be high, both for the care itself and for what health insurers, employers and consumers will end up paying.

In a recent report, the health insurance marketplace Covered California projected that the one-year costs of testing and treatment related to COVID-19 could range from $34 billion to $251 billion. These new costs could cause health insurance premiums for individuals and employers to rise by 40% or more next year in the absence of federal action, the report said, adding that insurance premiums would increase because insurers would want to recoup any losses from the pandemic this year and plan for any future losses they might incur next year. Continue reading

FTC charges in Shkreli case shed light on need for new generic drug development

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

The Federal Trade Commission and State of New York late last month filed a lawsuit against Martin Shkreli, charging that Shkreli and Vyera Pharmaceuticals raised the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim by more than 4,000% and worked to corner the market for such drugs.

“The joint action accused Shkreli and Vyera Pharmaceuticals, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, of scheming to ‘illegally’ prevent would-be generic competitors from selling a version of Daraprim,” as Stat’s Ed Silverman reported on Jan. 27. After acquiring the drug in 2015, Shkreli, dubbed the “Pharma Bro,” and Turing raised the list price of the medication from $17.50 per tablet to $750, he added. Continue reading

In 2020, employers’ benefit plans will promote more virtual care and focus on high-cost claims

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Companies that pay for employer-sponsored health insurance are continually seeking ways to cut health care costs and improve the care delivered to employees, their family members and retirees.

To accomplish these goals in 2020, employers will implement more virtual care, such as telemedicine, and will focus more on high-cost claims, according to a report from National Business Group on Health (NBGH). Continue reading

Globe Spotlight journalist reports on the link between economic inequality and financial toxicity in health care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

health-money

Image by Colin Dunn via Flickr

Two of the biggest issues the Democratic candidates are addressing in the presidential race are economic inequality and the need to reform the health insurance system.

In 2016, Liz Kowalczyk, a health care and medical writer for The Boston Globe, rotated onto the paper’s Spotlight team for a project about race to document segregation in the city’s health care system. Soon after beginning that assignment she found an almost ideal source for one of her first articles, a nursing home worker who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Continue reading

New data updates the economic value of family caregiving

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Betty Tsang via Flickr

About 41 million unpaid family caregivers provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care — worth $470 billion — to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends in 2017, according to a new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The report explores the growing scope and complexity of caregiving today, which includes an aging population, more family caregivers also in the paid workforce and an increasing amount of medical and nursing tasks now provided at home.

Ensuring better recognition of and support for family caregivers has become a health, economic, and social imperative, according to the report. Several co-authors discussed the analysis at a Nov. 14 press conference during the Gerontological Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas. Continue reading