KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Cost Of Preventive Exams Varies As Much As 700%, Report Finds

The health law seeks to make preventive screening and procedures available to more people, but it could come at a high cost.

USA Today: Costs Of Many Preventive Medical Exams Vary As Much As 700%
A new report shows costs vary as much as 700 percent for some preventive examinations, and as the federal health care law increases demand for those procedures, it can mean an increase in premiums if employees don't pay attention to those costs (Kennedy, 4/6).

Chicago Tribune: Report: Health Care Law 'Medical-Loss Ratio' Provision Would Have Generated Over $100 Million In Customer Rebates In Illinois
An Illinois resident with individual health insurance would have received an average rebate of $159 last year if a provision of the new federal health care law had been in effect, according to a new report. The health care law's provision, called the medical-loss ratio, took effect in 2011. It requires that insurers spend at least 80 percent of patient premium revenues on medical services or issue customers rebates for the difference (Frost, 4/6).

Meanwhile, a new report looks at U.S. health costs in comparison to other countries:

The Hill: Think Tank: Long-Run Deficit 'Entirely Due' To Health Care Costs
The United States would be looking at long-term budget surpluses rather than deficits if only health care costs per person were on par with the rest of the world, the nonprofit Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates with a new online calculator. The think tank's "Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator" allows users to change the course of the nation's fiscal outlook by swapping health care costs with those of other industrialized nations, all of which have longer life expectancies than the United States. Simply by adopting Australian health care prices, the calculator shows, the deficit would be eradicated by 2040 (Pecquet, 4/5).

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