Bill of the Month

This crowdsourced investigation by Kaiser Health News and NPR dissects and explains your medical bills every month in order to shed light on U.S. health care prices and to help patients learn how to be more active in managing costs. Do you have a medical bill that you’d like us to see and scrutinize? Submit it here and tell us the story behind it.

Listen: Grieving Families Face the Cruelest Bills

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber talks with NPR’s “Consider This” podcast about her reporting on families confronted with medical bills while grieving the loss of a baby who received expensive hospital care.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Judge Takes Aim at the Affordable Care Act’s Preventive Care Benefits

A federal judge in Texas — the same one who tried to strike down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional in 2018 — has ruled against some of the ACA’s preventive benefits, including the requirement that employers cover medication to prevent HIV. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tries to make abortions slightly more available to veterans and their dependents. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Sausser, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

Stemming gun violence is back on the legislative agenda following three mass shootings in less than a month, but it’s hard to predict success when so many previous efforts have failed. Meanwhile, lawmakers must soon decide if they will extend current premium subsidies for those buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and the Biden administration acts, belatedly, on Medicare premiums. Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a too-common problem: denial of no-cost preventive care for a colonoscopy under the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Funding for the Next Pandemic

In his proposed budget, President Joe Biden called for a boost in health spending that includes billions of dollars to prepare for a future pandemic. But that doesn’t include money he says is needed immediately for testing and treating covid-19. Also this week, federal regulators authorized a second booster shot for people 50 and older yet gave little guidance to consumers about who needs the shot and when. Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times, and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Julie Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive air ambulance ride.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Paging the HHS Secretary

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is drawing criticism for his hands-off handling of the covid crisis even though the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and FDA report to him. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor looks to enforce mental health “parity laws” that have failed to achieve their goals. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Noam N. Levey, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a large emergency room bill for a small amount of medical care.