Friday September 19, 2014

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Consumer-Driven Health News

A $10,169 Blood Test Is Everything Wrong With American Health Care

A lipid panel is one of the most basic blood tests in modern medicine. This is not a procedure where some hospitals are really great at lipid panels and some are terrible. There's just not space for quality variation. And that all makes it a bit baffling why, in California, a lipid panel can cost anywhere between $10 and $10,000. In either case, it is the exact same test.

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The New Obamacare Issue Worrying Consumer Advocates

There's a tool for reducing health costs that many health economists and policy geeks are eager to embrace, but that leaves consumer advocates are somewhat wary. It's called reference pricing, and it's surprisingly controversial.

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The Secret to Negotiating a Lower Medical Bill

Earlier this year, I got an unpleasant surprise in my mailbox. The bill was an incomprehensible, three-page mess of billing codes and charges that all totaled up to just over $800 that I owed. I thought about trying to negotiate the bill down but had no idea where to start. I ultimately paid it without protest — but, after talking to medical billing advocates, I'm starting to think I shouldn't have.

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Patients Seeking Cheaper Care Are Soliciting Bids from Doctors Online

Francisco Velazco couldn't wait any longer to find an orthopedic surgeon who would reconstruct the torn ligament in his knee for a price he could afford. So he turned to an unconventional and controversial option: an online medical auction site called Medibid. Velazco paid $25 to post his request for knee surgery. A few days later, he had bids for the outpatient procedure from surgeons in New York, California and Virginia, including details about their expertise.

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Electronic Doc Visits to Explode This Year

More evidence of the potential and power of telemedicine emerged from a Deloitte study of patient “visits” to medical professionals’ offices. Nearly 13 percent of all general practitioner appointments made in the U.S. and Canada this year will be electronic “eVisits.”

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