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June 9, 2015 Insurers typically get substantial discounts off hospital sticker prices, but people treated out of their plan's network or the uninsured can wind up paying the full bill.
A free pregnancy test dispenser hangs next to a condom dispenser in the women's restroom at the Peanut Farm bar in Anchorage.
May 10, 2015 A small number of bars are offering the free tests as part of a state-funded pilot program aiming to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome.
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Anne Koller closes her eyes as an oncology nurse attaches a line for chemotherapy to a port in her chest. Koller typically spends three to six hours getting each treatment.
Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN
April 14, 2015 Cancer treatment is increasingly expensive, even for patients who have insurance. Some doctors advocate discussing the costs of cancer treatment as they would hair loss, pain or other side effects.
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September 12, 2014 While there were increases in the second quarter of this year, they don't appear to be pushing the growth in health spending toward the painful levels of a decade ago.
June 24, 2014 Although medical costs will increase as the economy improves, the shift of expenses to workers by employers will help restrain the overall cost of care a little.
Hospitals in Maryland may soon have an unusual, new way to make money.
January 10, 2014 Hospitals in Maryland would be financially rewarded for keeping people healthy and out of the hospital. The arrangement, once unimaginable, could serve as a model for containing hospital costs elsewhere in the country.
Have you thought about getting a PET scanner?
October 15, 2013 Running a hospital that scores well on keeping more patients alive or providing extensive charity care doesn't translate into a compensation bump for top executives. Nonprofit hospitals have been under scrutiny for paying high salaries to chief executives while skimping on benefits for their communities.
June 13, 2013 Instead of waiting for individual hospitals to apply to build proton centers, a health planning council solicited proposals, promising to favor collaborative approaches. A five-hospital group that teamed with a private company got the go-ahead to build in New York City.
May 31, 2013 The green light comes despite questions about whether the proton beam treatment is more effective than less expensive options. The two centers, about three miles apart, will compete for patients in the Washington area.
Where a person lives seems to have an effect on Medicare spending. But why?
May 29, 2013 Waste and aggressive treatment might not explain Medicare cost variations after all. Differing levels of health by region could account for most of the cost variation, an analysis finds.
A cancer pill can cost patients more than the same treatment given as an infusion.
May 17, 2013 Even cancer patients with health insurance can face steep copayments for drugs, a sizable share of hospital bills and significant incidental expenses. So wouldn't it make sense for doctors and patients to talk about financial issues up front?
Average hospital charges for a major joint replacement, such as an artificial hip, vary widely, as this map from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows.
May 8, 2013 In a first, Medicare has revealed how much individual hospitals bill and how much they are paid for common treatments. The charges vary widely. And while Medicare and private insurers generally pay far less than what hospitals request, the uninsured may pay something closer to these sticker prices.
May 6, 2013 The growth in health spending has definitely slowed, according to several recent studies. Some reasons: the weak economy, a shift of costs to patients and fewer expensive technologies being introduced.
If you bought this 1954 Buick when it was new, the price was just about as mysterious as it is today for hip replacement surgery.
February 11, 2013 When researchers asked hospitals how much a total hip replacement would cost a 62-year-old woman paying cash, a surprising number couldn't or wouldn't say. Health care could learn something from the car industry about working with consumers, critics say.
Among common health problems, depression was linked to the highest increase in annual spending by employers' on workers' health care.
November 6, 2012 People with high blood sugar had medical expenses that were almost one-third higher than average, as did people with high blood pressure. But among common health problems, depression was linked to the highest spending increase.
September 24, 2012 Public health considerations alone are not enough to justify banning the sale of large containers of soda. Commentator Alva Noë argues that the question at hand is one of the values we hold, not healthcare costs.
Heath coverage will cost you more than last year, but not as much as it might have.
September 11, 2012 Annual family health insurance premiums rose about 4 percent to an average of $15,745 this year, a new survey finds. While the increase is less than the one seen last year, it exceeds both inflation and wage gains.
September 7, 2012 Nearly a third of spending on health care in the U.S. is wasted. There's lots of inefficiency, excess overhead and some outright fraud, too. But the biggest slice of the waste pie is unnecessary care.
September 5, 2012 Some of the cost variations from a UnitedHealthcare database are startling. For treating a basic asthma episode, cases in the 10th percentile of distribution cost $98 each while those in the 90th percentile the cost was $1,535 per case.
How much will that cost, doc?
May 31, 2012 Among recent health care consumers, 16 percent said they'd looked for prices beforehand, compared with 11 percent who'd answered that way two years ago. The most common source is a doctor's office, cited by 50 percent of people who checked on prices.
May 21, 2012 In 2010, health spending rose fastest among people 18 and under, according to an analysis of data from private insurers. It's just one finding made possible by a new database.
May 21, 2012 Three out of four people who've been sick in the past year said cost is a very serious problem, and half said quality is a very serious problem. Those are among the striking findings from the latest survey on health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
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A database of fees charged by out-of-network dentists could help lower your bill.
April 17, 2012 Dental coverage often maxes out at a just few thousand dollars a year or less and typically covers only half of the cost of major procedures like crowns and root canals. So knowing what out-of-network dentists charge for their services may help save you a bundle.
The one group for whom prescription drug spending rose last year was young adults ages 19 to 25.
April 4, 2012 Seniors are traditionally the biggest consumers of prescription drugs, but they aren't using as many. Greater use of generics also played a role in last year's slow growth.
March 19, 2012 With the Supreme Court poised to hear arguments about President Obama's health law next week, the time seemed ripe for looking at the economic stakes. The public sector is a big part of the American health care industry, which now accounts for 18 percent of the GDP.
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