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05 Mar

High Deductible Health Plans and Cancer

Concerns over out-of-pocket costs may delay breast cancer care.

Health News Results - 78

Many American cancer survivors struggle to pay for their medical care and have to cut back on spending, dip into their savings, or change their living situation.

These problems are more common among those under 65 than among older survivors, a new survey reveals.

Researchers focused on 401 cancer survivors, ages 18 to 64, and 562 who were 65 and older.

Among the you...

Little Johnny's cough has lasted for days, leaving Mom and Dad wondering if the symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor. A new study suggests that such parents may choose to skip that standard pediatric sick visit.

Overall visits to the pediatrician in the United States dropped by 14% between 2008 and 2016. Sick visits were down 24%.

At the same time, well-child visi...

Minority women with breast cancer are less likely to have insurance, which could lower their odds of survival, researchers say.

"Having adequate health insurance for all could reduce the persistent racial outcome disparities in breast cancer," said study lead author Dr. Naomi Ko, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

She added that early d...

The Medicaid expansion brought in by Obamacare may have prevented thousands of deaths from opioid overdoses, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that in U.S. states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, fatal opioid overdoses dipped by 6%, compared to states that opted out. That included an 11% lower death rate from heroin overdoses, and a 10...

Medical paperwork cost the United States $812 billion in 2017 and accounted for more than one-third of total spending for doctor visits, hospitals, long-term care and health insurance, according to a new study.

However, reducing medical paperwork expenses to the same levels as in Canada -- which has single-payer universal health care -- would have saved the nation more than $600 billi...

The odds of surviving childhood cancer may be influenced by the type of health insurance a young patient has, researchers say.

In a new study, children and young adults covered by Medicaid or other government agencies were less likely to be alive five and 10 years after their cancer diagnosis than those with private insurance.

"Patients with Medicaid have less access to prim...

Seniors on Medicare are going to take a hit to the pocketbook in 2020, with premiums and deductibles set to increase on coverage for medical services and prescription drugs.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will rise $9.10, to $144 a month, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced.

The annual deductible for Part B also will increase...

"Training" for surgery can improve seniors' outcomes and reduce insurance costs, a new study says.

It included 523 Medicare patients in Michigan, average age 70, who exercised, ate a healthy diet and practiced stress reduction techniques for at least one week before a major operation. It's a process the researchers called prehabilitation, or prehab for short.

These patients...

Skyrocketing prices and insurance limits are driving many people with diabetes to seek medications and supplies from an underground supply chain, a new study found.

"The cost of insulin, which is required in type 1 diabetes and a subset of type 2 diabetes, has increased substantially over the last decade. As the price of insulin rises and insurance premiums and deductibles go up, too...

Mass shootings, health care and the 2020 presidential election are significant causes of stress for American adults, a new survey finds.

The poll of more than 3,600 U.S. adults found that 71% of them said mass shootings are a major source of stress, an increase from 62% in 2018. Hispanics were most likely to say mass shootings are a significant source of stress (84%), foll...

Requiring drivers to get treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) saved a trucking company a large amount in insurance costs for other health conditions, a new study shows.

People with apnea repeatedly stop breathing and wake partially during the night, resulting in poor sleep that can worsen other medical conditions.

Researchers noted that even though OSA has been linked...

Even with Medicare coverage, older Americans with serious health conditions are often burdened by medical bills, a new study finds.

In a survey, researchers found that more than half of seriously ill Medicare beneficiaries said they'd had major trouble paying medical bills. Prescription drugs were the biggest hardship, followed by hospital and ambulance bills.

For some, medi...

Married people, especially women, benefited more than singles after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medicaid insurance coverage in the United States, a new study finds.

The ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage for adults, and 25 did so by 2014. Since then, coverage rates have increased more in expansion states than elsewhere.

But the impact of marital status...

Difficulty understanding health insurance and medical bills may cause financial hardship for cancer survivors, a new study finds.

There is growing evidence that many American adults lack health insurance literacy, which is the knowledge, ability and confidence to obtain, evaluate and use health insurance information.

While improving health insurance literacy could help reduc...

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 2 million diabetics, many of them poor, got health insurance, a new study shows.

"Insurance coverage can change the health trajectory of people with diabetes by providing access to diagnosis and treatment," said lead researcher Rebecca Myerson. She is an assistant professor of population health sciences at University of Wisconsin School of M...

Over the last decade, Americans who get their health insurance through their employer have seen both their premiums and their deductibles rise faster than either their wages or inflation, a new survey shows.

"The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are," said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Ka...

Cancer takes a huge emotional toll on patients, but a new study finds the financial costs are also so high that many are resorting to crowdfunding to help pay their medical bills and related costs.

"The financial consequences of cancer care for patients and their families are substantial," said senior and corresponding author Dr. Benjamin Breyer, chief of urology at University of Cali...

Drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors can help certain patients with advanced lung cancer live longer and better. But high out-of-pocket costs might stand in the way, a preliminary study suggests.

Researchers found that of 106 patients who started tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) for advanced lung cancer, one-quarter with the highest out-of-pocket costs died sooner: They were more ...

Use of ambulances for non-emergency situations soared in New York City after the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new study finds.

With the advent of Obamacare -- and expanded access to Medicaid -- out-of-pocket costs for an ambulance dropped sharply for many people, making them more likely to ask for one in non-emergency situations, the researchers said.

In some cases, it's ch...

Seniors' out-of-pocket costs for cancer drugs continue to rise steadily, with patients paying thousands of dollars each year despite efforts to close the Medicare Part D "donut hole," researchers said.

Prices for 13 anticancer drugs available through Medicare Part D in 2010 rose an average 8% over inflation every year over the past decade, said lead researcher Stacie Dusetzina. Sh...

As a rule, high-deductible health plans carry lower premiums than low-deductible plans. But that might not be such a great deal for patients struggling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), new research suggests.

Such plans may be impacting the quality of health care for those with the progressive lung disease, researchers report.

The findings come from an analy...

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they have suffered financial hardship due to health care costs, a new study finds.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society looked at three different types of problems: difficulty paying medical bills, worrying about bills, and delaying or doing without care.

"With increasing prevalence of multiple chronic conditions, higher patient cost-shar...

Multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson's can be physically taxing conditions, but new research shows they exact a huge financial toll as well.

Over a 12-year period, out-of-pocket costs for Americans with these illnesses jumped, with the biggest increase seen among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Those patients paid 20 times more for their drugs in 2016 than they did in 2004...

For women who deliver a baby by cesarean section, the risk of developing a surgical site infection is higher if she is covered by Medicaid versus private insurance, a new study finds.

Several factors may be at play, including a patient's living situation and social support after leaving the hospital, as well as differences in the type of care covered by insurers, according to the rese...

People with severe pain from cancer or sickle cell anemia should not be denied coverage for opioid painkillers, a new clarification on federal guidelines states.

In the wake of the national opioid epidemic, various medical societies had encouraged doctors to rein in prescriptions for the powerful painkillers.

In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publi...

Getting back to nature may nurture your health, according to a new study that found U.S. counties with more forests and shrublands have lower Medicare costs.

The surprising conclusion comes from an analysis of health and environmental data from 3,086 of the 3,103 counties in the continental United States.

"We took the average of different types of land cover and the per cap...

While President Donald Trump's latest push to dismantle Obamacare is on hold for now, millions still stand to lose health insurance if it is ever repealed.

"Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House," Trump declared late Monday on Twitter.

Just last week, Trump directed the U.S. Justice Department to support a lawsu...

Folks who aren't covered by private insurance are much more likely to get booted out of the hospital early, a new study finds.

Uninsured patients were also more than twice as likely to be transferred to another hospital and 66% more likely to be discharged outright, compared with people with private insurance, the findings showed.

People on Medicaid had nearly 20% i...

In a finding that brings bad news as America struggles with an opioid epidemic, a new report shows that only four states provide adequate insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

"We are calling on states to ensure health plans cover the full range of effective addiction treatments and address the serious gaps identified in this report," said report author Lindsey Vuolo. She is dir...

Even when women have health insurance, high deductibles may delay them from having breast cancer diagnosed and treated, researchers say.

In a study of more than 3 million U.S. women with health insurance, the researchers found that those in plans with high deductibles waited several months more for a breast cancer diagnosis or treatment, versus women in low-deductible plans.

For people with the deadly skin cancer melanoma, one dose of the drug Keytruda before surgery might stop the cancer in its tracks, according to a groundbreaking new study.

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is a PD-1 inhibitor, an immunotherapy drug that triggers the body's immune response to attack cancer cells. According to results of this study, the drug's effects peak as early as seven days...

Insurance rules that limit access to the addiction treatment medication buprenorphine may be worsening the U.S. opioid epidemic, a new study suggests.

"Buprenorphine is a safe and effective treatment that decreases deaths due to opioids and stops heroin and other opioid use. People on buprenorphine are able to get their lives back together," said study co-author Dr. Todd Korthuis. He'...

Millions of Americans with heart disease say they face financial strain because of their medical care, with some skipping meds or cutting back on basics like groceries.

That's the finding of a new national study of heart disease and stroke patients younger than 65 -- a group that's too young for Medicare but often lack health insurance, or "good" insurance.

The researchers f...

Medicare rule changes could trigger a spike in out-of-pocket drug costs for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Due to rules that restrict access and require patients to cover more of the cost, those without low-income subsidies can expect to spend almost $6,900 a year out of pocket for MS medicines, researchers reported.

"It's a dysfunctional market that lacks the typica...

Interpret the data whatever way you will, but a new study shows a jump in women getting long-term contraception in the month following the election of President Donald Trump.

The researchers' theory?

Study author Dr. Lydia Pace acknowledged that "there is limited concrete evidence about why this may have happened," but she stressed that the findings "strongly suggest that th...

Many middle-aged folks nearing retirement have serious concerns about their health insurance coverage, a new survey shows.

Nearly half of people aged 50 to 64 say they have little or no confidence they'll be able to afford health coverage once they retire, according to findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

More than 1 in 4 are not even confident they'll be able t...

Ever since the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid in some states, more women have received health care before pregnancy, a new study finds.

The number of women who had Medicaid in the month before pregnancy rose from 31 percent to 36 percent in states that opted out of Medicaid expansion, but increased from 43 percent to 57 percent in states that expanded Medicaid, the researchers ...

For Americans with diabetes, high-deductible health insurance plans may lead to delays in diagnosing and treating dangerous blood vessel diseases, a new study suggests.

"People with diabetes in high-deductible health insurance plans compared to people with diabetes without high-deductible health insurance had delays in care for macrovascular complications of a month to three months,"...

End-stage kidney disease patients on dialysis are among those benefiting from Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, with related deaths declining in states that increased the program's enrollment, research suggests.

Researchers followed more than 230,000 non-elderly kidney failure patients undergoing dialysis treatment in the United States between 2011 and 2017.

Under the Affor...

Hackers are targeting medical record data more than ever, and their most rewarding prey appears to be health insurance companies, a new study suggests.

Data breaches involving health plans accounted for 63 percent of all breached records that occurred between 2010 and 2017, said lead researcher Dr. Thomas McCoy Jr. He is director of research at Massachusetts General Hospital's Center ...

Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, may close a big gap in women's access to reproductive health care, a new study suggests.

In a survey of nearly 1,200 women of childbearing age enrolled in Michigan's expansion of Medicaid for low-income adults, one in three said the expanded coverage improved her access to birth control and family planning serv...

Health insurance coverage rates have held steady in the United States, despite continued commotion over the future of the Affordable Care Act, a new government report shows.

About 28.3 million Americans were uninsured during the first quarter of 2018 -- not significantly different than 2017, and 20.3 million fewer than in 2010, before the health insurance reform law (often called Obam...

Immigrants in the United States use health care services less often than native-born citizens and may actually be subsidizing some of their health care, a new study reports.

A team of researchers systematically examined 188 peer-reviewed studies since the year 2000 related to health care expenditures on and by immigrants in the United States.

"Many Americans, including some...

People who want to have weight-loss surgery are facing much longer wait times now than a decade ago, a new study finds.

Among weight-loss surgery patients in Michigan, the typical wait time almost doubled between 2006 and 2016 -- from 86 days, to 159 days, researchers reported.

Delays were especially common for patients on Medicaid, the government health insurance program fo...

Gaps in private insurance coverage are common among American adults with type 1 diabetes, raising their risk for health crises, a new study finds.

"Type 1 diabetes requires intensive daily management in order to simply remain alive, so interruptions to care and coverage of insulin and supplies can pose a major risk," said study leader Mary Rogers. She's a research associate professor ...

In the United States, heart disease can ruin a poor family financially even if they have health insurance, a new study finds.

One in four low-income families with someone suffering from coronary artery disease had out-of-pocket costs that were far beyond their means, researchers found. And these families were three times more likely than middle- or high-income families to have these h...

Medicaid patients with kidney disease are more likely to be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list before they need dialysis if they live in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows.

The researchers examined United Network of Organ Sharing data on low-income adults who were put on kidney transplant waiting lists before dialysis dependen...

Health insurers may have helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic by not encouraging use of less addictive pain medications, a new study contends.

In 2016, more than 2.1 million Americans had an opioid addiction. And more than 42,000 died from opioid overdoses, government data show.

"Our findings suggest that both public and private insurers, at least unwittingly, have contribut...

Having health insurance is essential, especially for catastrophic situations. But it's important to choose a plan carefully because your costs can go well beyond the monthly premium. Knowing key terms will help you calculate potential expenses more accurately.

First is your deductible, the dollar amount you'll pay before insurance covers anything other than preventive services. "High-...

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are often denied treatment for kidney failure until they have a life-threatening emergency. Now a new study finds that the doctors and nurses who treat them are frustrated and demoralized over it.

At issue is access to treatment for end-stage kidney disease -- in which the kidneys can no longer perform their job of removing excess water and...

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