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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

MONDAY, July 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- 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 f...

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 prescript...

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

MONDAY, June 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- 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 tha...

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...

If Protections Expire, COVID Patients Could Soon Face Big Medical Bills

Older Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan could face hospital bills of $1,000 or more if private insurers start charging out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving COVID-19 care, a new study warns.

Cost data show that Medicare Advantage patients pay an average $987 out-of-pocket when they are hospitalized with the seasonal flu, and about 3% pay more than $2,500, according to the report.

...

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 ...

Obamacare's Birth Control Coverage May Have Reduced Unplanned Pregnancies

When Obamacare made contraception affordable, the rate of unplanned pregnancies among poor Americans declined, a new study reports.

The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) elimination of out-of-pocket costs for birth control was tied to fewer births in all income groups, but especially among poorer women, the new research found. In fact, the lowest income group had a 22% decline in births after t...

COVID-19 More Common in Pregnant Hispanics Than Other Moms-to-Be: Study

Hispanic mothers-to-be in the southern United States are almost twice as likely to have COVID-19 as non-Hispanic women, a new study finds.

The researchers also found that those with government health insurance were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus than women with private insurance.

For the study, pregnant women were routinely tested for COVID-19 as they wen...

Insured Patients Are Getting Surprise Bills After Colonoscopies

Many Americans who get recommended colon cancer screening may end up with "surprise" medical bills, a new study suggests.

Looking at insurance claims for more than 1.1 million elective colonoscopies, researchers found that 12% involved out-of-network charges.

That's concerning, the study authors said, because those patients may well have faced bills averaging $400 for a...

Health Coverage Takes Big Hit With Pandemic-Related Job Cuts

Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted ...

Obamacare Means 2 Million Fewer Americans Face Catastrophic Medical Bills Each Year

Since the passage of "Obamacare," fewer Americans are facing insurmountable medical bills -- but the benefit does not seem to be reaching people with private insurance, a new study shows.

Researchers found that after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, the number of Americans incurring "catastrophic" health care expenses each year dropped -- from 13.6 million in 2010 to 11....

Obamacare Cut Out-of-Pocket Costs, But Many Families Still Struggle: Study

High out-of-pocket health care costs for low- and middle-income Americans with kids have fallen due to "Obamacare," but more needs to be done to reduce their medical-related financial struggles, a new study claims.

The researchers examined data from 2000 to 2017 on more than 92,000 U.S. families with one or more children under 18 and one or more adult parents or guardians.

F...

Many Americans Struggling to Afford Health Care in Pandemic

More than two in five working-age U.S. adults didn't have stable health insurance in the first half of 2020, while more than one-third struggled with medical bills, according to a new survey.

"The survey shows a persistent vulnerability among U.S. working-age adults in their ability to afford coverage and health care. That vulnerability could worsen if the COVID-19 pandemic and relat...

Americans Lag Behind Brits When It Comes to Health

Health care in the United States is often touted as the best in the world, but Americans seem to be in worse health than their British peers, a new study shows.

Even the richest Americans in their 50s and early 60s had higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and mental health problems than their wealthy British counterparts.

Those who were in the top 10%...

Breast Cancer Caught Earlier in U.S. States With Expanded Medicaid: Study

Early-stage breast cancer is more likely to be diagnosed in U.S. states that have expanded Medicaid coverage under Obamacare than in those that haven't, researchers say.

Their new study looked at a database of more than 71,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 31 states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act and 14 states that did not.

In the expan...

How Insurance Plans Keep Black Patients From Cancer Care

Health insurance plans with high deductibles may be taking a financial toll on Black patients, according to a new study of cancer survivors.

The researchers said the findings point to yet another reason for racial health disparities in the United States: High deductibles may make it harder for Black patients, in particular, to afford medications or see a doctor.

"Just becaus...

High Costs Lead Millions of Americans to Shop Abroad for Rx Drugs

More than 2 million Americans buy prescription drugs from other countries as a way around rising prices in the United States, a new study finds.

The analysis of nationwide survey data showed that 1.5% of adults got their prescription meds from outside the United States between 2015 and 2017.

Immigrants and people who were older or who had inadequate health insurance cov...

Pandemic Job Losses Leaving Many Americans Uninsured: Survey

Furloughs and layoffs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have left many Americans without health insurance, a new survey reveals.

"Here in the fourth month of COVID-19-related job losses, a growing number of people won't be able to afford health care in the midst of the worst public health crisis in modern times," said report author Sara Collins, vice president for health care cov...

Another COVID Plague: Big Surprise Medical Bills for Survivors

Seattle resident Michael Flor's heart nearly stopped when he received a $1.1 million dollar hospital bill for months of COVID-19 treatment.

The 181-page bill listed nearly 3,000 itemized charges -- and didn't include other items likely to make Flor's bill even higher, the 70-year-old told Time.

But one fact provided Flor some solace: Kaiser Permanente, the health care...

White House Announces Plan for Medicare Recipients to Get Insulin at $35 Per Month

Beginning next year, people on some Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plans who need insulin will be able to access the lifesaving medication for just $35 a month, according to a new plan announced by the White House.

In some cases, the cost may be even lower, President Donald Trump said at a Rose Garden news conference on Tuesday.

"I'm proud to announce that we have r...

Breaks in Health Insurance Hurt Cancer Care, Survival

Health insurance disruptions are never a good thing, but for people with cancer it can lead to poor care and lower odds of survival, a new study finds.

This could prove ominous for the many Americans who have lost health insurance due to coronavirus-related layoffs.

"Our findings were consistent across multiple cancer sites, with several studies finding a 'dose-response' r...

Obamacare May Help Many Laid-Off Workers Get Health Insurance

Millions of Americans in industries hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic could be eligible for financial help with health insurance, a new study says.

Many of the newly unemployed might not know they can get public insurance or subsidies for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces, according to an analysis published this month by the Urban Institute, a Wash...

As Unemployment and COVID-19 Cases Rise, Who Will Pay for Care?

The coronavirus pandemic is spreading across the United States at the same time that millions have been laid off from their jobs.

That raises the obvious question -- how will those newly unemployed folks pay for medical care if they become infected with the coronavirus?

Recent bills passed by Congress ensure that people won't have to pay out of pocket for any COVID-19 testin...

Racial, Ethnic Gaps in Insurance Put Moms, Babies at Risk: Study

Though they are at a higher risk of childbirth complications and pregnancy-related death, women who are black, Hispanic or indigenous are less likely than white women to be insured, new research shows.

The study revealed that almost half of black, Hispanic and indigenous women had disruptions in insurance coverage between preconception and post-delivery compared to about one-quarter o...

Young Breast Cancer Patients Struggle Financially, Even When Insured

Financial struggles are common among young breast cancer patients in the United States, even if they have steady jobs that provide health insurance, new research shows.

The study included 830 women, aged 18 to 39, in California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina who were diagnosed with breast cancer between January 2013 and December 2014.

Nearly half (47%) of the women...