Health Inc. : Shots - Health News As spending on care rises, the business of health keeps getting more important. We feature news on and analysis of drugmakers, health insurers, hospitals, doctors and others in the business of providing health care.

Patients with private insurance like the drug coupons because they can help make specialty medicines more affordable. But health care analysts say the coupons may also discourage patients from considering appropriate lower-cost alternatives, including generic drugs. DNY59/Getty Images hide caption

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DNY59/Getty Images

Under the Affordable Care Act, many insurance plans are required to cover a range of essential services, such as hospitalization and prescription drugs. But reimbursement for certain medical equipment — such as crutches or a leg boot after an injury — varies widely from plan to plan. tirc83/Getty Images hide caption

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tirc83/Getty Images

Maryland's overturned law restricted the price of generic drugs, and had been hailed as a model for other states. It's one of a number of state initiatives designed to combat rapidly rising drug prices. Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images hide caption

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Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

Free-standing ERs tend to have lower standby costs than hospital-based facilities that have to be ready to treat dire injuries. But the free-standing ERs typically receive the same Medicare rate for emergency services. sshepard/Getty Images hide caption

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Under current law, Medicare requires patients to get a referral before seeing an audiologist to diagnose hearing loss. Leyla B / EyeEm/Getty Images hide caption

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Leyla B / EyeEm/Getty Images
Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Bill Of The Month: A Tale Of 2 CT Scanners — One Richer, One Poorer

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Melodie Beckham (left), here with her daughter, Laura, had metastatic lung cancer and chose to stop taking medical marijuana after it failed to relieve her symptoms. She died a few weeks after this photo was taken. Melissa Bailey/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Melissa Bailey/Kaiser Health News

In 2014, Kaiser Health News' Jenny Gold interviewed patients getting blood tests from Theranos at a Walgreens in Palo Alto, Calif., until a fire alarm stopped everything. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

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Paul Sakuma/AP

Health insurer Cigna is looking to increase its muscle by buying Express Scripts, a leading manager of prescription benefits. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption

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Wilfredo Lee/AP

Health Insurer Cigna To Pay $67 Billion For Express Scripts

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As a "hospital-at-home" patient, Phyllis Petruzzelli was visited twice a day by doctors and nurses who were able to perform any needed tests or bloodwork there to help her heal from pneumonia. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat," Petruzzelli says. Trina Dalziel/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Trina Dalziel/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Jessica Morris prepares to inject a blood-clotting protein into son Landon's arm at their home in Yuba City, Calif. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

Miracle Of Hemophilia Drugs Comes At A Steep Price

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Smallpox virus, colorized and magnified in this micrograph 42,000 times, is the real concern for biologists working on a cousin virus — horsepox. They're hoping to develop a better vaccine against smallpox, should that human scourge ever be used as a bioweapon. Chris Bjornberg/Science Source hide caption

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Chris Bjornberg/Science Source

Did Pox Virus Research Put Potential Profits Ahead of Public Safety?

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The new hospital garment ties in the front, like a robe, allowing the patient more modesty than the standard gown. Sophie Sahara Barkham/courtesy Care+Wear hide caption

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Sophie Sahara Barkham/courtesy Care+Wear

Can A Patient Gown Makeover Move Hospitals To Embrace Change?

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(From left) Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase; Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway; and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, are creating health care venture, but details are scarce. (From left) Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Andy Kropa/Invision/AP; Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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(From left) Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Andy Kropa/Invision/AP; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

As mother and daughter, Carmen and Gisele Grayson thought their DNA ancestry tests would be very similar. Boy were they surprised. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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Meredith Rizzo/NPR

My Grandmother Was Italian. Why Aren't My Genes Italian?

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Ronda Goldfein, attorney and executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, holds an envelope that revealed a person's HIV status through the clear window. Elana Gordon/WHYY hide caption

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Elana Gordon/WHYY

Aetna Agrees To Pay $17 Million In HIV Privacy Breach

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Hospitals Brace Patients For Pain To Reduce Risk Of Opioid Addiction

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Food and Drug Administration commissioner, told Kaiser Health News the incentives intended to spur development of drugs for rare diseases deserve a fresh look. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP