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Mar 26, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
This story can be republished for free (details).

Last October, Esteban Serrano wrenched his knee badly during his weekly soccer game with friends.

Serrano, a software engineer, grew up playing soccer in Quito, Ecuador, and he has kept up his sport since moving to the United States two decades ago.


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Mar 22, 2019

This story also ran on Time.
This story can be republished for free (details).

The first surprise was the massive heart attack, which struck as Debbie Moehnke waited in a Vancouver, Wash., medical clinic last summer.

“She had an appointment because her feet were swollen real bad,” said Larry Moehnke, her husband. “But she got in there and it was like, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!’”

Her life suddenly at risk,...

Mar 21, 2019

Surprise medical bills — when patients receive an unexpected bill from a health provider not in their insurance network — are among the few problems in health care just about everyone wants to solve. But it turns out that no one in the health industry wants to take responsibility for paying those bills. That could complicate efforts toward a legislative fix, despite...

Mar 21, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
This story can be republished for free (details).

States. They’re just as perplexed as the rest of us over the ever-rising cost of health care premiums.

Now some states are moving to control costs of state employee health plans. And it’s triggering alarm from the hospital industry. The strategy: Use Medicare reimbursement rates to recalibrate how they pay hospitals.  If the gamble pays off, more...

Mar 20, 2019

When Beverly Dunn called her new primary care doctor’s office last November to schedule an annual checkup, she assumed her Medicare coverage would pick up most of the tab.

The appointment seemed like a routine physical, and she was pleased that the doctor spent a lot of time with her.

Until she got the bill: $400.

Dunn, 69, called the doctor’s office assuming there was a billing error. But it was no mistake, she was told. Medicare does not cover an...

Mar 15, 2019
The Friday Breeze

Newsletter editor Brianna Labuskes, who reads everything on health care to compile our daily Morning Briefing, offers the best and most provocative stories for the weekend.

Happy Friday! Has everyone recovered from their daylight saving time jet lag? Every year we get a whole host of articles about why changing the clocks is outdated, terrible and really quite bad for our health, and yet! Here were are, still grumpy...

Mar 15, 2019

Like those of his recent predecessors, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts in October will not be adopted by Congress. Still, a presidential budget plan is an important indicator of the administration’s priorities.

The Trump administration’s priority for health is for the federal government to spend less. In some cases much less,...

Mar 15, 2019

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Some websites consumers use to buy their own health insurance don’t provide full information on plan choices or Medicaid eligibility, and appear to encourage selection of less comprehensive coverage that provides higher commissions to brokers, according to a report released Friday by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

These direct-enrollment broker websites...

Mar 14, 2019

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For years, Dr. Linda Fried offered older patients who complained of being lonely what seemed to be sensible guidance. “Go out and find something that matters to you,” she would say.

But her well-meant advice didn’t work most of the time. What patients really wanted were close relationships with people they care about, satisfying social roles and a...

Mar 13, 2019

This story also ran on NPR.
This story can be republished for free (details).

One health plan from a well-known insurer promises lower premiums but warns that consumers may need to file their own claims and negotiate over charges from hospitals and doctors. Another does away with annual deductibles but requires policyholders to pay extra if they need certain surgeries and procedures.

Both are among the latest efforts in a...

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