healthcare costs

Older Patients Steered Into High-Interest Credit Plans

Posted on 10/18/2013 by | Money and Work | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsConsider this: An older patient visits the dentist. The treatment she needs is expensive and not covered by Medicare. So the dentist offers her financing, on the spot, through a credit card plan. She accepts and gets the work done right away. When she gets the first month’s bill, she’s stunned to learn that the financing plan carries an interest rate of 30 percent. That scenario, you might be surprised to learn, appears to be a growing trend in doctor’s …

How to Cut $200 Billion in Health Care Costs

Posted on 06/19/2013 by | Health | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsBy Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News The U.S. spends $200 billion each year — about 8 percent of the nation’s health care tab — on medical care stemming from improper or unnecessary use of prescription drugs, a new report out Wednesday says. Much of those costs result from unneeded hospitalizations or doctor visits, according to the study by the IMS Health’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which provides data and other consulting services to the health care industry. Medical costs are driven …

Medicaid’s Costly ‘Revolving Door’

Posted on 05/30/2013 by | Washington Watch | Comments

Bulletin TodayWhen Medicaid becomes a revolving door, it ends up both harming patients and increasing costs, a study by two George Washington University researchers finds. “Even short gaps in coverage can lead to delay or avoidance of needed care,” says Leighton Ku, the director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services. “This can result in significant increases in hospitalizations for chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and mental disorders. These costly …

What Do Hospitals in Your Area Charge? Look It Up

Posted on 05/24/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

Bulletin Today | Personal HealthLast week the Obama administration started publishing comparative data on what more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation charge for services — information that has long been hidden from consumers. And the results were pretty shocking. As Modern Healthcare reports, the data show enormous disparities in what hospitals charge for the same treatments — not just from region to region, but even among hospitals in the same metropolitan area. Treatment for kidney and urinary tract infections, for example, typically costs $40,902 …

Is Poverty Among Older Americans Undercounted?

Posted on 05/24/2013 by | Washington Watch | Comments

Bulletin Today | PoliticsPoverty levels are much higher for older Americans when you factor in how much they need to spend on health care, the Census Bureau has found. While 9 percent or so of all Americans 65 and older were below the official poverty threshold in 2011 ($10,788 for an individual), 15 percent were below an alternative threshold that takes into account spending on health care. The alternative measure also takes into account variations in the cost of living, taxes, whether a …

The Takeaway: Health-Care Costs Rise Faster Than U.S. Inflation Rate

Posted on 05/21/2012 by | Brooklyn, NY | Comments

Bulletin TodayHigher charges by doctors, hospitals and drug companies have resulted in healthcare costs that have risen even faster than the rate of inflation, according to a survey released today by the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington DC. The study found that health care costs rose 3.3 percent in 2010 even though people actually used fewer services in many categories.  The average price of prescription drugs rose 3 percent; inpatient admissions cost 5.1 percent;  more and …