Posts Tagged ‘insurance’
According to a new report from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, there are vast differences in how much you will pay depending on which hospital you use. Where one might charge $7,000 for a procedure, another just down the road may charge $100,000 or more for the same care quality. (see Secret Hospital Charges)
Now there are ways to find the Fair Price on your own. One is like the Kelly Blue Book of healthcare, and it’s appropriately called Healthcare Blue Book. If you’re dealing with some major healthcare procedures, it’s certainly worth checking out. It never hurts to get informed when it comes to dealing with health care providers.
In his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)
His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.
MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »
If you or someone you know was effected by storm damage, please share this article. It offers advice for hiring a contractor that I submitted in August in response to an eLocal poll on this topic, and it’s based on my experience as communications director for a nonprofit homeowner advocacy organization that I co-founded. UPDATE: New advice links added (11/1/2012 )
Hurricane Sandy slammed into the northeast this week and did lots of damage to homes, so if you need repairs, this article is about how to avoid potential scams.
• Avoid “storm chasers,” those unscrupulous contractors that show up after disasters to prey on people in a hurry to fix their homes. You can recognize them by the magnet signs on their trucks and their temporary offices and phone numbers, and you may also notice yard signs popping up everywhere to promote their services.
Healthcare became a hot potato during this political season, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Governor Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare,” but what’s actually in the law and why was introduced in the first place? To address these common questions, I’m reposting one of my first articles on the topic.
This article describes a great presentation by Dr. James Rohack on Health System Reform. Rohack is a practicing cardiologist and Director of Scott & White Center for Healthcare Policy. He is also a professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center and was the president of the American Medical Association from 2009 to 2010 during debates over Obama’s Healthcare Law.
The presentation was held in Sun City, a planned community north of Austin for retirees with active lifestyles. It didn’t include handouts, but I was able to find some of Rohack’s slides online and offer them below with my notes.
The Waiting Room is like a punch to the gut for people cast off and left out of our U.S. medical care system, what some call the best in the world. When Democrats and Republicans vie for your votes and debate healthcare reform, remember that these are not the people they are talking about. Most don’t even notice the plight of those at the bottom — this ugly underside. But our politicians, and the billionaires who set their agenda, should be made to watch this documentary, because these are the 47 percent they talk about — the people left out of the American Dream. They’re real people.
This character-driven documentary film uses unprecedented access to go behind the doors of Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a safety-net hospital fighting for survival while weathering the storm of a persistent economic downturn. Stretched to the breaking point, Highland is the primary care facility for 250,000 patients of nearly every nationality, race, and religion, with 250 patients – most of them uninsured – crowding its emergency room every day. Using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover, the film offers a raw, intimate, and often uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers cope with disease, bureaucracy, frustration, hope and hard choices during one typically hectic day.
The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and uninsured small business owners. Steel workers, cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. (movie trailer follows)
It’s the Health Care, Stupid:
As Our Health Goes, So Does Our Economic Recovery
By Peter Abaci, M.D., Chronic pain specialist
(original on Huffington Post)
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
As we head into the final stages leading up to election day, expect the fight over whom and what is best for our economy to rage on. Debating how best to stimulate the economy has been anointed as the de facto topic of importance heading into our upcoming election, but let’s not forget that the health of Wall Street and Main Street is inextricably linked to the health of our citizens. As I have written here in the past, I am no economic expert, but I do work in the trenches every day in a profession that impacts our nation’s budget like no other.
The fact that doctors like me seem to drive the spending of tax dollars more than other occupations like teachers, governors, and generals tells you right there that health care is the elephant in the room of any debate on our economic future.
Modern Health Talk is recognized this month for submitting the most articulate response to an eLocal.com poll on How to Avoid Scams after a Storm, which also applies to home remodeling and modifications for aging in place too.
We’re into Hurricane season, and Isaac just slammed into New Orleans, so this reminder about potential scams is timely, especially since local laws often favor builders, remodelers and contractors rather than homeowners (at least in Texas). Here’s some advice when hiring a contractor to fix your home or replace your roof.
• Avoid “storm chasers,” those unscrupulous Read the rest of this entry »
Occupy Healthcare is a movement to influence and impact the future of healthcare, as well as an online community to discuss healthcare reform issues. Recently they invited me to submit my perspectives, and below is what I sent.
Occupy Health Care – a proposal from Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk
Historically, the biggest impact in health outcomes has come from public health initiatives such as clean water, sewage systems, and immunization programs. But that success is minimized by a “sick care” system that is profoundly broken, with perverse incentives to view patients as customers, treat symptoms, and pay practitioners for each test, drug and procedure.
ACA is meant to fix that, with more emphasis on positive outcomes and overall health & wellness, both to minimize the need for medical care in the first place and thus reduce costs, and to maintain a healthy and productive workforce that contributes to a vibrant economy. ACA is a good start, but there’s still more work to be done, and it won’t come from private industry or the insurance model, because natural incentives prevent it.
I believe that the key to health reform is getting the incentives right, and that means getting private insurance companies out of BASIC health care entirely. Their profit motive gives them an incentive to increase costs, knowing that higher costs = more insurance customers paying higher premiums. What I propose instead is a hybrid public/private model that capitalizes on contrasting incentives, eliminates the need for health insurance, and saves over $1 trillion per year.
By Susan Blumenthal, M.D., Former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General
Written in Collaboration with Jenny Shelby
(Original text and statistics graphic from Huffington Post)
Not all threats to our nation are overseas. Within our own borders, enemies such as chronic and infectious diseases, as well as rising medical costs, threaten individuals, families, communities, and the national security of our country. Health care costs constitute 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States, amounting to $2.6 trillion. In comparison, approximately 6 percent of the GDP is spent on defense. Although the U.S. spends twice as much on health care as any other nation, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the United States ranks 50th in life expectancy and 39th on the overall health status of its citizens worldwide. America’s health care system is in crisis: It is a “sick care” system, not a health care system. However, healing has now begun. Just over a month ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling to largely uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, a major step toward redesigning the U.S. health care system and improving the health of all Americans. Read the rest of this entry »
This article presents statistics about the Home Healthcare Opportunity (see more statistics) and an infographic about Long Term Care costs (from Northwest Mutual).
“We can save Trillions by moving at least 50% of healthcare services from institutions to homes.” (Eric Dishman, Intel)
- Boomers have a “fierce” desire to remain independent.(AARP)
- >90% of people 65+ want to age at home if safe as long as possible.
- This will lead to an expansion of organizations offering home- and community-based care.
- Avg. Nursing Home private room = $83,000 a yearin 2010. Assisted Living rent = $39,000 a year. (MetLife)
- Avg. Independent Living Community = $32,000/yr (Long Term Living Magazine)
- Avg. In-Home Care = $18,000/yr (health aid, meals on wheels, maid, etc.)
- Global Home Healthcare market = $40.5 billion in 2009, growing to $67 billion by 2016 (GBI Research)
- US Digital Health market = $5.7B by 2015 with 55% CAGR (Parks Associates)
- US Home Remote Monitoring = $295M by 2015 (Frost & Sullivan)
- US Remote Patient Monitoring = $7.1B in 2010, with 25.4% ACGR and 2015 estimate of $22.2 billion (Kalorama Information)
- Health & Fitness Apps market = >$400 million in 2016 (ABI Research)
- Global mHealth market = $10B by 2016 (mHealth Networking Group on LinkedIn)
- With over 72% of the globe connected via mobile technology and over 60% of US physicians owning tablet devices, the promise of mobile health to profoundly impact, on the delivery of healthcare cannot be understated.
- Most of these physicians are using iPads and about half of all tablet-toting physicians use the devices at the point of care.
- Asia Pacific mHealth market = $7B by 2017 (GSMA)
- >20,000 medical/health apps = 3rd fastest-growing, with 60% aimed at consumers vs. health professionals
- U.S. Health Care Fraud = $80 billion per year. (conservative estimate from CNBC’s Health Care Hustle series) Read the rest of this entry »