Henry Stern of InsureBlog brings us an interview with the whistleblower who has brought a lawsuit against LabCorp for allegedly charging a lower price to United HealthCare than to Medicare. The post is particularly interesting because Hank adds his own thoughts after the interview, and he sees things a little differently than Andrew Baker (the whistleblower). Hank agrees that it does look like LabCorp lowered their fees for UHC […]
[…] The healthcare providers make recommendations, order tests, perform surgeries… and in general, the patient does what the doctor recommends. And really, isn’t that the way it probably ought to be? Most of us have not been to medical school. When something seems amiss with our health, we need to feel that we can rely on our doctors to tell us the best course of action. Increased cost-sharing tends to increase the number of people who skip healthcare in general – including very necessary care like keeping diabetes and blood pressure under control.
[…] Some lawmakers have proposed making people pay higher deductibles or doing away with first-dollar coverage on Medigap policies, with the idea being that if people have more of their own money on the table, they would be less likely to over-utilize non-essential healthcare. The problem, of course, is that seniors who are already struggling to pay for healthcare would be more likely to skip necessary care if they had to come up with additional money to pay for it. […]
[…] I would add that the advertising tactics Trudy mentions also apply to regular health insurance plans too – not just those related to Medicare. Unfortunately, health insurance advertising can sometimes get a bit murky. If in doubt, always ask for more details or get a second opinion… and as with most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (there’s no such thing as comprehensive individual health insurance for $150/month for a family of four with no deductible and all pre-existing conditions covered).
Welcome to Grand Rounds! It’s the third time we’ve hosted Grand Rounds at the Colorado Health Insurance Insider and we’re honored to be hosting again. It was a pleasure to read so many great articles for this edition. Since our blog tends to focus on health care policy and reform, I’m starting things off with the posts that pertain to that topic. Enjoy!
The first of the Baby Boomers turn 65 this year, and health insurance carriers are paying attention. Aetna has agreed to purchase Genworth’s Medicare supplement business for $290 million. Going forward, Aetna expects to post yearly gains from the Medicare supplement (also known as Medigap) business. This makes sense given that the Baby Boomers will be flooding into the Medicare (and Medicare supplement) system over the next two decades. […]
[…] The Dartmouth study results might seem counter-intuitive, since we often assume that as long as people are getting regular care by a PCP, they will be more able to avoid expensive hospitalizations. That appears to be true, but the lower cost office visits and outpatient treatments add up faster than one might expect, and would actually exceed the cost of the hospitalizations that they would prevent. […]
[…] One way or another, we need to seek solutions that will enable Medicare to pay the 10% shortfall that is currently predicted for a decade from now. That can be accomplished by cutting costs, increasing revenues, or both. But we don’t need to start from scratch and overhaul the entire system, especially with the improvements that the PPACA has already created.
[…] If the government can tell the health insurance carriers that no more than 15 – 20% of premium dollars can be spent on administrative expenses, including profits, why can’t similar guidelines be enacted for the pharmaceutical industry? Perhaps then we wouldn’t need to worry as much about who is going to pay the cost of prescription drugs for seniors. And maybe individual health insurance policies could start covering prescriptions with basic copays again.
[…] He tackles the question of whether Medicare beneficiaries have to wait longer than privately insured patients for a routine appointment, and finds that they do not. In fact, it appears that the opposite is true, with more privately insured patients reporting that they had to wait longer than they wanted to get an appointment (although most insureds, regardless of whether they had Medicare or private health insurance, were able to get appointments within the time frame they wanted).[…]
Last week’s Health Wonk Review included several articles about Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future”, which includes significant changes in Medicare and Medicaid, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This article from Avik Roy is particularly interesting, and raises some valid points in support of some aspects of the proposed budget reforms. But there are definitely problems with some of the radical changes being proposed. […]
[…] But the shortage of doctors who will accept new Medicaid patients could definitely be seen as a significant obstacle to receiving care for people who rely on Medicaid to cover their healthcare costs. It’s likely that there is a long list of reasons why people on Medicaid have poorer health outcomes (and we have to be careful to not mistake correlation with causation). But it’s reasonable to assume that the difficulty Medicaid patients experience in finding a doctor isn’t doing anything to improve their health outcomes.
[…] Will guaranteed issue health insurance – and subsidies to help pay for it – starting in 2014 also help to decrease the number of people receiving SSDI? If people had a way to obtain affordable health insurance without having to qualify as disabled, it stands to reason that there would be more incentive for people to return to work after a serious illness or injury.
I came across this article today about the benefits of home hemodialysis. My father has been on dialysis for nearly 7 years, since a rare autoimmune disease destroyed his kidneys in the summer of 2001. He was on hemodialysis for a while, and then switched to peritoneal dialysis. That worked for a couple years until… Read more about Daily Dialysis Dramatically Better