More Price Transparency Needed for Implantable Devices

Implantable devices, such as hip replacements and heart valves, are a central part of medical treatment today. Americans receive about 370,000 cardiac pacemakers and about 1 million total hip and knee replacements per year. Despite how common the use of implantable devices is, little information is publicly available on the prices paid for these devices in the United States. Limited information about prices and performance of many implantable devices has raised concerns that providers, consumers and insurers may be paying …

Temperature Sensor for Independent Living Wins Innovation Champion Award

AARP has named HomeExcept Inc. the grand prize winner of the AARP Innovation Champion Awards competition. The team was awarded $10,000 in cash for designing a home care sensor that allows caregivers to monitor loved ones by using thermal sensors to track movement. The AARP Innovation Champion Awards were created to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary efforts of companies that are aligned with AARP’s core mission — to empower people to choose how they live as they age. The AARP Innovation Champion Awards …

Capping Medicaid Funding Could Hurt Millions of People With Disabilities and Poor Seniors

Medicaid is the country’s largest public health insurance program, providing access to needed health care and long-term services and supports  (LTSS) to millions of low-income Americans, including more than 17 million children with disabilities, adults with disabilities, and poor seniors. Right now, states and the federal government share the cost of Medicaid in a way that guarantees services to all who are eligible. Under this arrangement, federal funding increases (or decreases) in response to changes in enrollment, service costs and …

Have Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Guidelines Been Left on the Shelf?

Screening for osteoporosis among high-risk populations, including postmenopausal women, is essential. Women found to have low bone density due to osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis) can reduce their risk of future bone fracture with lifestyle changes and drug therapies. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all women ages 65 years and older undergo bone density testing to screen for osteoporosis, and that some younger women receive targeted screening based on individual risk assessments. In …

The Cures Law Brings Winds of Change to Electronic Health Records

The recently enacted 21st Century Cures Act will mean welcome changes to electronic health records (EHRs) as we know them. In short, the EHR piece of the Cures Act is good news for consumers. Here’s why. Enabling information flow Tucked into the sweeping medical innovations legislation — which bolsters medical research and revamps new drugs’ approval process  — are provisions to break down barriers preventing EHRs from freely following people as they move between health care providers. Specifically, the law takes …

‘Age Rating’ Is Washington-Speak for Overcharging Older Americans

If you have a hard time understanding what the wonks in Washington are talking about, welcome to the club. Beltway buzzwords are at dime a dozen on Capitol Hill, but there’s one particular term to watch out for that simply means massive health care premium hikes for older Americans. “Age rating” is the practice of varying health insurance premiums based on age. It’s Washington-speak for overcharging older Americans by thousands of dollars for their health care. >> Ge the news …