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01 Jun

Average COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

The economic burden of COVID-19 is especially high in people aged 65 years or older, particularly for people of color, researchers find.

Health News Results - 208

Biden Plan Will Spend $1.5 Billion to Boost Health Worker Supply

Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday that the Biden administration will spend $1.5 billion to tackle a health care worker shortage in underserved communities.

The money from the COVID-19 recovery program, called the American Rescue Plan, and other sources will go to three federal programs that provide scholarships and loan repayments for health care students and workers if they a...

Neurologists' Group Issues Guidance to Families on Controversial Alzheimer's Drug

Neurologists must make sure Alzheimer's patients and their families understand that the controversial drug aducanumab does not restore mental function, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) said in new position statement that includes ethical guidelines.

"Aducanumab is not a cure for Alzheimer's disease, yet since it has been approved by the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], patients...

Lung Cancer Survival Continues to Improve, But Not for All

Lung cancer survival rates in the United States continue to rise, but certain racial groups are still hit hard by the disease, the American Lung Association reports.

Its fourth annual "State of Lung Cancer" report shows that the average five-year survival rate increased from 14.5% to nearly 24%, but it remains at 20% for people of color overall, and 18% for Black Americans.

"The rep...

Pricey Alzheimer's Drug Drives Spike in Medicare B Premium: Officials

A new and expensive Alzheimer's drug called Aduhelm is responsible for about half of the $21.60 increase in monthly premiums for Medicare's Part B outpatient program in 2022, Medicare officials report.

The new premium will be $170.10 a month, and the $21.60 boost is the biggest increase ever in dollar amount, but not in percentage terms. As recently as August, a smaller increase of $10 fr...

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...

Moving Monoclonal Antibody Treatments for COVID From Hospital to Home

Antibody infusions help keep high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital, but getting the therapy can be a challenge. One U.S. health system has found a creative way to address the problem: home infusions administered by paramedics.

Researchers found that the tactic was feasible, delivering antibody infusions to 144 COVID-19 patients in their homes over three months earlier this year....

FDA Eases Access to Cheaper Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Affordable over-the-counter hearing aids could soon bring relief to millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss, under a landmark proposal announced Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The proposal would create a category of hearing aids that could be sold directly to consumers, without either a medical exam or a fitting by an audiologist.

Until now, folks suffer...

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...

Common Hormone Disorder in Women Costs U.S. $8 Billion a Year

Treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — the most common hormone disorder in women of child-bearing age — is costly.

In 2020, diagnosing and treating this disorder cost an estimated $8 billion in the United States, according to a new economic a...

18 Million Americans Can't Pay for Needed Meds

As many as 18 million Americans can't afford their prescribed medications, a new nationwide poll finds.

That's 7% of the adult population in the United States. But when it comes to households making less than $24,000 per year, the percentage jumps to 19%, the West Health/Gallup poll revealed.

Here are the key findings:

  • The inability to pay for a prescription is twice as h...

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 t...

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...

Biden Administration Buys More Monoclonal Antibody Treatments to Ward Off Shortage

As severe cases of COVID-19 rise and demand surges for monoclonal antibody treatments, the U.S. government is ordering more from two key suppliers.

Monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-engineered immune system proteins, can help trigger a healthy immune response against COVID-19 infection.

The Biden administration has also taken over distributing the therapeutics, to help avoid shor...

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...

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 qua...

Black Americans, Mexican Americans Develop Diabetes Earlier in Life

Black Americans and Mexican Americans typically develop type 2 diabetes up to seven years earlier than their white counterparts, a new study finds.

In all, more than 25% of adults in the two groups reported being diagnosed with diabetes before age 40, and 20% didn't know they had the disease.

Researchers said the findings highlight the need to address economic and social conditions ...

Could Cheaper, Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Finally Be Here?

Until now, folks suffering from hearing loss typically have had to fork out thousands of dollars for a device that could be adjusted only by a professional audiologist.

No wonder that only one-quarter of the nearly 29 million U.S. adults who could benefit from a hearing aid have actually tried one, according to the U.S.

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • September 9, 2021
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  • Full Page
  • Americans' COVID Medical Bills Are Set to Rise

    COVID-19 care is likely to get more expensive for Americans with the expiration of insurers' temporary waivers on costs associated with treating the illness.

    Earlier in the pandemic, patients didn't have their normal co-payments or deductibles for emergency room visits or hospital stays for COVID-19, and most tests were also free, The New York Times reported.

    As the pandemi...

    Leaving Work to Care for Special Needs Child Takes Big Financial Toll

    Having a special needs child can mean medical emergencies and doctors' visits where parents have to take time off from work, and now a new study shows that can bring a bit financial hit to a family.

    Researchers analyzed U.S. government data from more than 14,000 families in that situation and found they lost an average of $18,000 a year in household income in 2016-2017.

    "We found a ...

    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...

    How Did New 'Surprise Medical Bill' Laws Affect Your State?

    Anesthesia is a vital part of almost every surgery, but unexpected bills for the service can cause a lot of pain. Now, a new study finds that these costs fell in several states that introduced legislation targeting "surprise" billing.

    "These price declines show that state surprise billing laws both directly lower out-of-network prices and indirectly lower in-network prices, providing evid...

    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...

    Two PrEP Meds Work Equally Well; One Is Much Cheaper

    The two HIV prevention drugs available in the United States are equally safe and effective, and the biggest difference between them is price, a new study contends.

    However, a sizable minority of patients have switched from the older and cheaper "preexposure prophylaxis" (PrEP) formulation to the newer and much pricier one. In many cases that switch might not have been warranted, the resea...

    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.

    FDA OKs Automatic Use of a Cheaper Generic  Insulin

    U.S. pharmacists will now be able to automatically substitute a cheaper biosimilar for a more expensive brand-name insulin, the U.S Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

    The agency's approval of an "interchangeable" biosimilar could save diabetics and health plans millions each year, the Associated Press reported. Until now, doctors have had to specifically prescribe ...

    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...

    Doctors Divided Over Use of Controversial New Alzheimer's Drug

    The controversial new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm is creating something of a civil war in medicine, as health networks, hospitals, insurers and individual doctors weigh impending discussions with patients about whether they should take the medication.

    Many doctors believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "moved the goalposts" to approve Aduhelm (aducanumab) in early June, and they aren'...

    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...

    Medicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's Drug

    TUESDAY, July 13, 2021 (Healthday News) -- Medicare launched a formal process on Monday that will determine whether the agency will cover Aduhelm, the newly approved Alzheimer's drug whose high price tag and unproven benefits have prompted widespread controversy.

    Medicare's announcement came the same day that leaders of two House committees that are investigating Aduhelm's approval asked ...

    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...

    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...

    House Committees to Investigate New Alzheimer's Drug Approval

    THURSDAY, July 1, 2021 (Healthday News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's controversial approval of a new Alzheimer's drug, along with its high price, is now being investigated by two House committees.

    "We have serious concerns about the steep price of Biogen's new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm and the process that led to its approval despite questions about the drug's clinical benefi...

    Walmart to Offer Low-Priced Insulin

    TUESDAY, June 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) --Walmart said Tuesday that it will start selling its own private brand of insulin at much lower prices than competing products.

    Insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years, making it unaffordable for some Americans with diabetes, according to CBS News.

    "We know many people with diabetes struggle to manage the financial burden of ...

    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.
    <...

    $10,000: What New Parents Might Pay for Childbirth, Even With Insurance

    Having a baby is expensive. The cost of diapers, a crib, a car seat and all the other infant necessities can really add up, and now a new study shows that having a child comes with its own hefty hospital price tag for many U.S. families.

    About one in six families in the Michigan Medicine study spent more than $5,000 to have a baby. For privately insured families whose babies required time...

    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...

    His Implanted Microchip Could Help Save Him From a Stroke

    Norman Mayer, 86, walks around with a computer chip in his chest and doesn't think a thing about it.

    Doctors implanted a tiny heart monitor chip in Mayer's chest after he suffered a mini-stroke in late 2015, to track his heartbeat and potentially detect an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (a-fib).

    "You don't even know it's there," said Mayer, the sitting mayor of th...

    Death Rates Are Rising Across Rural America

    In rural America, more people die from chronic health conditions and substance abuse than in suburbs and cities, and the gap is widening.

    Researchers report in a new study that the difference in rural and urban death rates tripled over the past 20 years mostly due to deaths among middle-aged white men and women.

    "We looked at all-cause death, and found that instead of the difference...

    Think You Can Skip That Annual Physical?  Think Again

    Despite calls from some leading health experts to scrap annual physicals because they are a waste of time and money, a new study finds advantages to routine screenings.

    "While it is disappointing that I can't tell my patients a visit with me or my colleagues will help them live longer, it is good to know there are proven, measurable benefits," said senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Linder. ...

    Drug Lynparza Could Help Fight Some Early-Stage Breast Cancers

    A twice-daily pill can dramatically reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who are genetically prone to the disease, researchers report.

    The pill - olaparib (Lynparza) - works by blocking a natural enzyme called PARP that normally fixes DNA damage in healthy cells, but in these women actually promotes the growth of cancerous cells.

    Early high-risk breast cancer patient...

    Average COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

    The cost of COVID-19 hospitalizations averaged nearly $22,000 for older Americans in 2020 - and much more for those who became critically ill, a new government study finds.

    Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the cost of COVID-19 care to the Medicare program, which covers Americans aged 65 and up.

    On average, the investigators found, the prog...

    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...

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