health care pricing

Senate Dems Lose Health Care Vote, Hope It's Campaign Fodder

15 hours ago

Days after ending a turbulent Supreme Court confirmation fight, the Senate turned back to health care — with a battle squarely aimed at coloring next month's crucial elections for control of Congress.

doctor
Flickr Creative Commons/Hamza Butt / WLRN

A bill that would allow physicians, chiropractors and group practices to sign “direct primary-care” agreements with patients without running amok of Florida’s insurance laws is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve the measure (HB 37), sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa. The House passed the bill in January by a 97-10 vote.

Health insurance a la carte?

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Sometime before the end of this year, the state of Florida will have a new website with health care prices for patients. It's the result of a 2016 law and a five-year, $6.1 million  state contract that was finalized earlier this month.

 

The biggest health insurance providers in Florida are expected to contribute prices to the website: Florida Blue, Aetna, United Healthcare, AvMed and others. Under the law, these health insurers will have to share the prices they pay to Florida health care providers on behalf of their patients.

Like mangoes, snowbirds and hurricanes, even health insurance has a season and this is it -- open enrollment season. This is the time many companies give their employees a window to check out any changes to health care insurance plans, including how much more it will cost. It’s also the time Obamacare health insurance plans open on the federal government’s Healthcare.gov site for the 28 states using it, including Florida.

 

Would You Like Some Insurance With Your Insurance?

Sep 13, 2016

For the first time in her life, 26-year-old freelance designer Susannah Lohr had to shop for health insurance this year.

She called up a major insurer in the St. Louis area where she lives, and it offered her a plan with a hefty $6,000 deductible — that's the amount she'd have to cover herself before the insurance kicks in.

When she balked, the salesman on the phone suggested that she could buy a "gap plan," a separate policy for $50 a month to cover her deductible.

It has been four months since WLRN launched Pricecheck, an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs in Florida. Along with our partners WUSF in Tampa and Health News Florida and with input from our audience, we created a searchable database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies aiming to answer a single question: "How much does it cost?"

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.

 

NehaSarin/Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed state budget includes $5 million for the creation of a database that would show all the costs and expenses associated with hospital treatment and other health care.

Scott says hospitals would have to post what they actually get paid for every procedure in order to prevent price gouging. He says patients and insurance companies should know the cost of health care treatments up front,  just as consumers know the cost of items at the grocery store.

cooldesign / freedigitalphotos.net

A new analysis of Florida’s health care markets finds that as the state’s hospitals consolidate and expand, new business models are shifting the negotiating power.

Castlight Health / www.castlighthealth.com/costliest-cities/

Depending on where she goes for health care, a Florida woman could spend anywhere from $32 to $494 for a human papillomavirus screening, according to a new analysis from Castlight Health.

Castlight is one of the latest organizations to map what Americans are paying for health care. The data for the study come from health care claims provided to Castlight from large, self-insured employers.

Health Care Cost Institute / healthcostinstitute.org

The true cost of health care is notoriously secret, but an analysis out this week from the Health Care Cost Institute offers a glimpse into how insurance companies spend money in Florida.

“Inpatient prices and outpatient prices can differ within the same area,” says Eric Barrette, director of research for HCCI. “The mix of services isn’t always related to the prices.”