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Health News Results - 112

Almost 13 Million Americans Per Year Skip Meds Due to Cost

Nearly 13 million U.S. adults a year skip or delay filling needed prescriptions due to high price tags, new research shows.

This figure includes more than 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries and 3.8 million privately insured working-age adults who didn't get needed medications each year in 2018 and 2019 because of cost, according to a nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Across America, Black People Have Worse Health Outcomes

Race-based gaps in health care and health outcomes persist in every region of the United States, a new state-by-state report card shows.

Racial and ethnic disparities woven throughout America and its system of health care mean that people of color are more likely to die younger from preventable illnesses than white people, according to a racial equity scorecard developed by The Commonweal...

Workers' Share of Annual Premium for Employer Health Plans Nears $6,000

Health insurance has gotten slightly more expensive during the pandemic: A new survey shows that annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4%, to an average of $22,221 this year.

Of that amount, employees paid an average of nearly $6,000 toward the cost of coverage, while employers paid the remainder of the premium.

But there was some good news: The Kaiser ...

Medicare Could Negotiate Drug Prices Under Democrat Proposal

A measure designed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors has been added to President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate change bill that Democratic leaders hope to bring to a House vote this week.

For the first time, the measure would enable the federal government to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare, The New York Times reported.

Under the proposal, ...

Financial Stress Burdens More Than Half of New U.S. Moms: Study

The joys of motherhood may be overshadowed in the United States since as many as 50% of new or expectant moms can't pay their bills, including health care bills, new research suggests.

"Financial hardship is highly prevalent among pregnant and postpartum women," said study co-author Dr. Michelle Moniz. She is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michiga...

Cancer Costs U.S. Patients $21 Billion a Year

American cancer patients spent more than $21 billion on their care in 2019, a new report shows.

That $21.09 billion included out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion. Patient time costs are the value of the time patients spend traveling for, waiting for and receiving care.

"As the costs of cancer treatment continue to rise, greater attention to a...

Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills for COVID-19 May Average $3,800 in 2021: Study

Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 could now face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs, according to a new report.

In 2020, most health insurance companies waived co-pays, deductibles and other cost-sharing for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but many stopped doing that early this year, the University of Michigan researchers noted.

"Many insurers claim that it is ju...

Your Free Cancer Screen Shows Trouble: What If You Can't Afford the Follow-Up?

Just over a decade ago, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) made many common cancer screenings free. But a pair of new studies caution that when those free tests turn up signs of trouble, important follow-up tests may be too pricey for some patients.

The bigger concern: Some patients may forgo these expensive tests, even when they may prove lifesaving.

"With t...

Access to Top Drugs Makes the Difference for Black Lung Cancer Patients

Equal access to the most effective drugs helps eliminate the survival disparity between Black and white lung cancer patients in the United States, a new study shows.

In general, Black lung cancer patients are more likely to die than white patients, but these findings suggest that barriers to care are the main cause of racial disparities in lung cancer survival rates, the researchers said....

Parents of Hospitalized Kids Need More Info on Costs: Study

Having a child in the hospital is distressing for families, and not knowing what that stay might cost can add to that stress, researchers say.

A new study has found that three-quarters of U.S. families want to have conversations about the costs of care. Yet only 7% of families actually have had this financial counseling with hospital staff.

The research suggests that patients and th...

Millions Who Joined Medicaid During Health Emergency Could Soon Lose Coverage

When the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, a new crisis in insurance coverage in the United States may begin.

Fifteen million Americans who enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic could lose their coverage when the emergency declaration ends, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute, a social policy think tank.

Its researchers said states can minimize disenrollment by k...

Hospitalizing the Unvaccinated Has Cost U.S. Nearly $6 Billion

The cost of providing hospital care for unvaccinated Americans has reached $5.7 billion in just three months, CBS News reported.

Between June and August, about 287,000 people who were not vaccinated were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the United States, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Peterson Center on Healthcare, which collaborated to track healt...

Medical Paperwork: So Bad Some Folks Skip Care

Getting prior authorizations to see a specialist, dealing with errors on medical bills and even scheduling appointments can be a big hassle.

That's clear to anyone who has spent time on the phone handling issues with insurance companies or doctors' offices.

For some patients, in fact, it's a hurdle that's caused them to delay or even forgo needed medical care.

"It is the thing...

Turning 65 Brings Big Health Care Cost Savings, Study Finds

When Americans are eligible for Medicare at age 65, they see a significant drop in their out-of-pocket medical costs.

Lowering the eligibility age would save even more, especially for people with the highest out-of-pocket costs, according to a new study.

"Me...

Your State's Laws Might Save Your Life If Breast Cancer Strikes

When Nancy Cappello was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2003, she was stunned.

How could this have happened? She went for her annual screening mammogram every year and was always told that all was fine.

It wasn't.

Cappello had dense breasts, but no one had ever told her. "The tumor was likely growing for five to seven years," said her husband, Joseph Cappello. "At the...

Health Savings Accounts Used Least by People Who Need Them Most: Poll

Tax-free health savings accounts can make it easier for Americans to pay for future health expenses, but most older adults aren't using them.

A new poll by Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan found that while nearly 1 in 5 people weren't confident that they could afford their health costs, only about 12% of people had a flexible spending account (FSA). And just 45% of people who qual...

Few Kids Get Dental Fluoride Treatments, Though Insurance Will Pay

Very few privately insured young children get recommended dental fluoride treatments at health wellness visits, even though insurance typically covers them, a new study finds.

"Medical providers are not required to do this; it's like a mammogram," said lead author Kimberley Geissler, an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "It's r...

Little Change in Number of Uninsured in  Pandemic's First Year

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the economy and jobs, it didn't result in fewer Americans having health insurance.

The number of 18- to 64-year-olds in the United States without health insurance held steady at 11% between March 2019 and April 2021, according to a survey by the Urban Institute, a social policy research organization.

"Unlike the last recession, los...

Race-Based Disparities in Americans' Health Haven't Improved: Study

In a paradoxical finding, new research reveals that more Americans of color have access to health insurance now than they did 20 years ago, but their perceptions of their health status have not improved at all.

The study, published Aug. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, paints a sobering picture.

In the bit of good news, researchers found that bet...

Did Obamacare Expand Access to Insurance for Minorities? In Some U.S. States, Hardly at All

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduced the ranks of uninsured Americans, but a recent study shows that many U.S. states did little to close racial gaps in health coverage.

Researchers found that in the two years after the ACA came into force, some U.S. states showed large reductions in the number of Black, Hispanic and low-income residents who were uninsured.

Other states, however, s...

When Deductibles Rise, More Diabetes Patients Skip Their Meds

As many Americans know, today's health insurance plans often come with high deductibles. Those out-of-pocket costs could cause harm: New research shows that 20% of people who have diabetes and high-deductible health plans regularly skip their medications.

Not keeping up with your diabetes medications comes with the potential risk of an emergency room visit or a hospitalization.

Patients of Color Less Likely to Get Specialist Care Than White Patients

People of color are consistently less likely to see medical specialists than white patients are, a new U.S. study finds, highlighting yet another disparity in the nation's health care system.

Researchers found that compared with their white counterparts, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans had significantly fewer visits to doctors of various specialties -- ranging from...

Many Patients Billed for Preventive Care That Should Be Free: Study

Many Americans are being charged for preventive -- and supposedly free -- health care, new research shows, and those bills may keep them from booking appointments in the future.

Out-of-pocket charges for preventive care that should be free under the Affordable Care Act can discourage patients from receiving recommended care, said study lead author Alexander Hoagland, a Ph.D. student in ec...

PrEP HIV Prevention Pills to Be Free for Insured Americans

Nearly all health insurers must cover the entire cost of HIV prevention treatments, the U.S. government says.

That includes the two approved pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs Truvada and Descovy, all clinic visits and lab tests, NBC News reported.

The guidance, issued this week by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with the Department of Lab...

Many Hit Hard by Pandemic Now Swamped by Medical Debt

The coronavirus pandemic has left plenty of Americans saddled with medical bills they can't pay, a new survey reveals.

More than 50% of those who were infected with COVID-19 or who lost income due to the pandemic are now struggling with medical debt, according to researchers from The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates a high-performing health care system.

"T...

Cancer Survivors Fared Better Financially After Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has eased financial struggles for younger adult cancer survivors, a new study finds.

University of Michigan researchers analyzed data from more than 20,000 participants in the National Health Interview Survey and found that cancer survivors ages 18 to 64 were less likely to delay treatments and had less difficulty paying for medications or dental care from 20...

Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs

Can Costco beat Medicare Part D when it comes to prescription drug prices?

Apparently so, claims a new study that found that roughly half of generic medications were cheaper when purchased from the discount retailer than from the government program.

The researchers compared the prices paid by Medicare Part D plans (including patient out-of-pocket payments) for 184 generic prescripti...

Biden Administration Pushes Forward With Trump-Era Law on Surprise Medical Bills

In a rare show of bipartisanship on health care, the Biden Administration is advancing Trump-era consumer protections aimed at curbing sometimes devastating surprise medical bills.

It's an issue that seems to unite Americans of all political stripes: Bills that seemingly come out of nowhere after necessary medical treatments, and that can run anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands o...

Cost a Barrier to Cervical Cancer Screening for Many U.S. Women

Many women in the United States aren't screened for cervical cancer because they can't afford it, a new study finds.

Screening helps reduce cervical cancer cases and deaths, but disparities in screening rates exist based on income, insurance status, race and ethnicity.

"Low-income women need greater access to insurance coverage options, Medicaid eligibility, or free screening progra...

Could Home Test for Colon Cancer Mean a Big Medical Bill to Come?

You decide to take a popular colon cancer screening test that can be performed at home, and it comes back positive. A follow-up colonoscopy is scheduled, but then you suddenly receive a large and unexpected medical bill.

That's what happened to a Missouri woman who was hit with $1,900 in medical expenses after using the popular at-home colon cancer screening test called Cologuard.
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High Deductibles Keep Folks With Chest Pain From Calling 911

The public health message has always been loud and clear: If you are experiencing a medical emergency such as chest pain, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

But a new study shows that a $1,000 or higher deductible on your health insurance plan may serve as a deterrent to seeking care when you experience chest pain that could signal a heart attack.

"Plans with high out-of-...

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Challenge to Affordable Care Act

The landmark Affordable Care Act, which has expanded health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans, has withstood a third challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 7-2 decision, a majority of justices ruled on Thursday that plaintiffs involved in the case did not sustain any injury that gave them standing to sue, The New York Times reported.

The decision left un...

A Real Headache: Racism Plays Role in Migraine Care

The color of your skin may very well determine how your headache gets treated, a new study warns.

The same percentage of white, Black and Hispanic Americans - about 15% - suffer from severe headaches and/or migraines, the investigators noted.

But the current analysis, conducted by 16 headache disorder experts, found that Black men are far less likely to receive headache treatment; t...

Why a COVID Diagnosis Could Cost You Way More Money in 2021

COVID-19 could be a much more expensive experience for folks who fall ill this year, thanks to the return of deductibles and copays, new research suggests.

Most folks who became gravely ill with COVID last year didn't face crushing medical bills because nearly all insurance companies agreed to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus care during the height of the pandemic, explained Dr. Kao-Pin...

Out-of-Pocket Costs Delay Cancer Follow-Up Care, Even for the Insured

About 1 in 10 U.S. cancer survivors delays follow-up care because they can't afford associated medical bills, even if they're insured.

That's the conclusion from an analysis of data from more than 5,400 survivors of various cancers. Most were insured, college-educated and had annual incomes above the national average. Their average age was 67, and most were female and white.

Up to 1...

Many Pre-Surgery Tests Are Useless, So Why Are Hospitals Still Using Them?

Patients facing relatively simple outpatient surgeries are nonetheless being told to undergo a number of preoperative tests that just aren't necessary, a new study reports.

More than half of a group of patients facing low-risk outpatient surgery received one or more tests -- blood work, urinalysis, an electrocardiogram (EKG), a chest X-ray -- prior to their operation.

One-third of p...

It's Still Tough to Find Prices on Most U.S. Hospital Websites

U.S. hospitals have been required to make their prices public since 2019, but 18 months into the rule more than half weren't doing it, a new study finds.

In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule requiring hospitals to publish their "chargemasters" on their websites. A chargemaster is a rundown of a hospital's services, along with their list prices - something akin to the manufactur...

For the Poor, Even a Small Medical Bill Can Trigger Coverage Loss

WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) - When people with low incomes are asked to help pay for their health insurance, some drop their coverage, even when bills as low as $20 per month arrive.

That's the upshot of a new study of Medicaid expansion in the state of Michigan.

Leaving the insurance plan means people may miss out on preventive care or timely treatment of illnesses. It...

Fear of Losing Health Insurance Keeps 1 in 6 U.S. Workers in Their Jobs

Many American workers remain in jobs they'd rather leave -- simply because they don't want to lose their health insurance, a new Gallup poll reveals.

That's the situation for 16% of respondents in a nationwide poll of more than 3,800 adults conducted March 15-21.

The fear is strongest among Black workers. Pollsters found they are more likely to keep an unwanted job at 21% than Hispa...

When Drug Companies Raise Prices, Patients' Out-of-Pocket Costs Rise

When prescription drug "list" prices go up, patients often take a hit in the wallet, a new study shows.

Researchers found that while some people are buffered against drug price hikes by their health insurance plan, many are not.

Those in plans that require co-insurance or a deductible for prescriptions typically watch their out-of-pocket expenses rise, according to the study.

When Cancer Strikes Those Under 40, Race Matters

Young Black and Hispanic cancer patients face poorer survival odds than their white counterparts, even from some cancers that are highly curable, a new study finds.

It's well known that the United States has long-standing racial disparities in cancer survival.

The researchers said the new findings bolster evidence that those disparities are not confined to older adults, who account...

Buying Your Own Health Insurance Just Got Way Less Expensive

Tens of millions of Americans will find it substantially more affordable to buy their own health insurance starting this month, thanks to generous financial help included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) signed by President Joe Biden in March.

That includes many people who've already bought a plan for this year, as well as people who don't have insurance right now.

Health poli...

Vision Problems Are On the Decline for American Seniors

Serious vision problems among older Americans have declined sharply, and the improvement has been greatest among women, folks over 85 and seniors who are Black or Hispanic, a nationwide study shows.

"The implications of a reduction in vision impairment are significant," said study first author ZhiDi Deng, a pharmacy student at the University of Toronto in Canada. "Vision problems are a ma...

Pandemic Has Affected Kids' Dental Health: Poll

Could the COVID-19 pandemic be taking a toll on kids' teeth?

A new, nationwide poll found the pandemic has made it harder for parents to get their kids regular dental care. But on the other hand, many say their youngsters are now taking better care of their teeth.

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at Michigan Medicine surveyed almost 1,900 parents ...

Too Many Kids With Special Needs Are Going Without Adequate Support

As many as one in five U.S. children has special health care needs, and some of their caregivers are struggling to get them the support, care and services they need, new research shows.

Kids with special health care needs may have physical conditions (such as asthma or diabetes), mental health issues (including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or anxiety), developmental disorders ...

Are Pricey Air Ambulance Rides Really Saving More Lives?

Air ambulance service is pricey, but promises lifesaving speed by providing rapid straight-line helicopter transport for critically ill patients.

But a new study out of Denmark questions whether that expensive haste winds up saving more lives.

Researchers found no statistically significant difference in the death rate between people transported by ground ambulance or helicopter, acc...

Even Rich Americans Don't Get World-Class Health Care: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- Even the most privileged people in the United States with the best access to health care are sicker and more likely to die than average folks in other developed nations, a new study finds.

People living in the highest-income counties in the United States are, on average, more likely to die from a heart attack or cancer, during childbirth, or to lose an infant th...

Support for Obamacare Grows as Biden Takes Control: Poll

The popularity of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, continues to grow, with nearly two-thirds of Americans saying they want the law to remain as is or be improved, a new Harris/HealthDay poll shows.

About 34% of U.S. adults think the Affordable Care Act should remain in place, and another 28% believe it should stay but have some parts changed, according to poll results taken...

Almost Half of Americans Worry About Surprise Medical Bills: Poll

Nearly half of Americans fear unexpected medical bills and 44% say they couldn't pay a $1,000 surprise bill, a new poll shows.

Those fears aren't unfounded. Among those with private health insurance, 68% have received unexpected medical bills and 33% couldn't pay them on time, while 23% said they haven't paid them yet.

Many Americans (81%) want Congress to pass laws to end surp...

Obamacare Boosts Colon Cancer Diagnosis, Care: Study

Colon cancer treatment for low-income Americans has improved with Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a new study says.

That includes earlier diagnosis, increased access to treatment and better surgical care, according to the researchers.

They compared data for more than 4,400 patients in 19 states that expanded Medicaid in January 2014 and more than 6,000 patients in ...