Say What? Hearing Aids Available Over-the-Counter for as Low as $199, and Without a Prescription
The cheaper over-the-counter aids are for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss — a market of tens of millions of people, many of whom have until now been priced out because prescription devices can cost thousands of dollars.
Baby, That Bill Is High: Private Equity ‘Gambit’ Squeezes Excessive ER Charges From Routine Births
Hospitals, boosted by private equity-backed staffing companies, have embraced a new idea: the obstetrics emergency department. Often, it is just a triage room in the labor-and-delivery area, but it bills like the main emergency department.
Mental Health Crisis Teams Aren’t Just for Cities Anymore
In many cities, social workers and counselors are responding to mental health emergencies that used to be solely handled by police. That approach is spreading to rural areas even though mental health professionals are scarcer and travel distances are longer.
Journalists Dig In on the Fiscal Health of the Nation and Hospital Closures in Rural Missouri
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
Watch: Their Baby Died. The Medical Bills Haunted Them.
Sterling Raspe lived just eight months. In this KHN video, her father shows the 2-inch stack of medical bills generated by Sterling’s care.
Centene Agrees to Pay Massachusetts $14 Million Over Medicaid Prescription Claims
Massachusetts is the latest state to settle with St. Louis-based Centene Corp. over allegations that it overcharged Medicaid prescription drug programs.
‘American Diagnosis’: When Indigenous People Move to Cities, Health Care Funding Doesn’t Follow
When Indigenous people started moving to cities in large numbers after World War II, many found hardship and discrimination there … but not the health care they were entitled to. Episode 12, the season finale, explores the efforts of urban Indian health providers to close those gaps by providing affordable, culturally competent care.
$2,700 Ambulance Bill Pulled Back From Collections
After reporting from KHN, NPR, and CBS News, a patient’s $2,700 ambulance bill was pulled back from collections.
Shattered Dreams and Bills in the Millions: Losing a Baby in America
On top of fearing for their children’s lives, new parents of very fragile, very sick infants can face exorbitant hospital bills — even if they have insurance. Medical bills don’t go away if a child dies.
Hemp-Derived Delta-8 Skirts Marijuana Laws and Raises Health Concerns
A cannabis product called delta-8 was made legal when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp. But unlike its cousin CBD, delta-8 has psychoactive properties. And the FDA warns it has “serious health risks.” The agency has received more than 100 reports of bad reactions among people who consumed it.
Buy and Bust: After Platinum Health Took Control of Noble Sites, All Hospital Workers Were Fired
Two Missouri towns are without operating hospitals after private equity-backed Noble Health left both facilities mired in debt, lawsuits, and federal investigations. The hospitals’ new operator, Platinum Health, agreed to buy them in April for $2 and laid off the last employees in early September.
Genetic Tests Create Treatment Opportunities and Confusion for Breast Cancer Patients
Doctors are divided on whether blanket testing of breast cancer patients is warranted, since scientists and physicians are sometimes unsure about how to interpret the results.
Centene to Pay $166 Million to Texas in Medicaid Drug Pricing Settlement
Texas is at least the 12th state to settle with St. Louis-based Centene Corp. over allegations that it overcharged Medicaid prescription drug programs.
Doctors Rush to Use Supreme Court Ruling to Escape Opioid Charges
After a unanimous ruling from the high court, doctors who are accused of writing irresponsible prescriptions can go to trial with a new defense: It wasn’t on purpose.
Private Equity Sees the Billions in Eye Care as Firms Target High-Profit Procedures
As private equity groups are swarming into aging America’s eye care, the consolidation is costing the U.S. health care system and patients more money.
Court Ruling May Spur Competitive Health Plans to Bring Back Copays for Preventive Services
The Affordable Care Act required that health insurers provide many medical screenings and prevention services at no out-of-pocket cost to health plan members. But insurers and employers may consider adding cost sharing for preventive services now that a federal court ruled the ACA’s mandate is unconstitutional.
Newborns Get Routine Heel Blood Tests, but Should States Keep Those Samples?
Shortly after birth, babies are pricked in the heel so their blood can be tested for life-threatening conditions. States generally save leftover blood from those samples, and parents and privacy experts are concerned that information could be used without consent years later.
California and New York Aim to Curb Diet Pill Sales to Minors
California and New York would be the first states to require anyone under 18 to obtain prescriptions to purchase over-the-counter weight loss products, which some research has linked to eating disorders.
As State Institutions Close, Families of Longtime Residents Face Agonizing Choices
Iowa, under federal pressure to improve care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, is set to join 45 other states that have closed most or all of their state institutions for such residents.
Medical Coding Creates Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients
The codes used by U.S. medical providers to bill insurers haven’t caught up to the needs of trans patients or even international standards. Consequently, doctors are forced to get creative with what codes they use, or patients spend hours fighting big out-of-pocket bills.