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01 Jun

Average COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

The economic burden of COVID-19 is especially high in people aged 65 years or older, particularly for people of color, researchers find.

Health News Results - 177

Doctors Divided Over Use of Controversial New Alzheimer's Drug

The controversial new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm is creating something of a civil war in medicine, as health networks, hospitals, insurers and individual doctors weigh impending discussions with patients about whether they should take the medication.

Many doctors believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "moved the goalposts" to approve Aduhelm (aducanumab) in early June, and they aren'...

Many Hit Hard by Pandemic Now Swamped by Medical Debt

The coronavirus pandemic has left plenty of Americans saddled with medical bills they can't pay, a new survey reveals.

More than 50% of those who were infected with COVID-19 or who lost income due to the pandemic are now struggling with medical debt, according to researchers from The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates a high-performing health care system.

"T...

Cancer Survivors Fared Better Financially After Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has eased financial struggles for younger adult cancer survivors, a new study finds.

University of Michigan researchers analyzed data from more than 20,000 participants in the National Health Interview Survey and found that cancer survivors ages 18 to 64 were less likely to delay treatments and had less difficulty paying for medications or dental care from 20...

Medicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's Drug

TUESDAY, July 13, 2021 (Healthday News) -- Medicare launched a formal process on Monday that will determine whether the agency will cover Aduhelm, the newly approved Alzheimer's drug whose high price tag and unproven benefits have prompted widespread controversy.

Medicare's announcement came the same day that leaders of two House committees that are investigating Aduhelm's approval asked ...

Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs

Can Costco beat Medicare Part D when it comes to prescription drug prices?

Apparently so, claims a new study that found that roughly half of generic medications were cheaper when purchased from the discount retailer than from the government program.

The researchers compared the prices paid by Medicare Part D plans (including patient out-of-pocket payments) for 184 generic prescript...

Cost a Barrier to Cervical Cancer Screening for Many U.S. Women

Many women in the United States aren't screened for cervical cancer because they can't afford it, a new study finds.

Screening helps reduce cervical cancer cases and deaths, but disparities in screening rates exist based on income, insurance status, race and ethnicity.

"Low-income women need greater access to insurance coverage options, Medicaid eligibility, or free screening progra...

House Committees to Investigate New Alzheimer's Drug Approval

THURSDAY, July 1, 2021 (Healthday News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's controversial approval of a new Alzheimer's drug, along with its high price, is now being investigated by two House committees.

"We have serious concerns about the steep price of Biogen's new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm and the process that led to its approval despite questions about the drug's clinical benefi...

Walmart to Offer Low-Priced Insulin

TUESDAY, June 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Walmart said Tuesday that it will start selling its own private brand of insulin at much lower prices than competing products.

Insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years, making it unaffordable for some Americans with diabetes, according to CBS News.

"We know many people with diabetes struggle to manage the fi...

Could Home Test for Colon Cancer Mean a Big Medical Bill to Come?

You decide to take a popular colon cancer screening test that can be performed at home, and it comes back positive. A follow-up colonoscopy is scheduled, but then you suddenly receive a large and unexpected medical bill.

That's what happened to a Missouri woman who was hit with $1,900 in medical expenses after using the popular at-home colon cancer screening test called Cologuard.
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$10,000: What New Parents Might Pay for Childbirth, Even With Insurance

Having a baby is expensive. The cost of diapers, a crib, a car seat and all the other infant necessities can really add up, and now a new study shows that having a child comes with its own hefty hospital price tag for many U.S. families.

About one in six families in the Michigan Medicine study spent more than $5,000 to have a baby. For privately insured families whose babies required time...

Why a COVID Diagnosis Could Cost You Way More Money in 2021

COVID-19 could be a much more expensive experience for folks who fall ill this year, thanks to the return of deductibles and copays, new research suggests.

Most folks who became gravely ill with COVID last year didn't face crushing medical bills because nearly all insurance companies agreed to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus care during the height of the pandemic, explained Dr. Kao-Pin...

His Implanted Microchip Could Help Save Him From a Stroke

Norman Mayer, 86, walks around with a computer chip in his chest and doesn't think a thing about it.

Doctors implanted a tiny heart monitor chip in Mayer's chest after he suffered a mini-stroke in late 2015, to track his heartbeat and potentially detect an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (a-fib).

"You don't even know it's there," said Mayer, the sitting mayor of th...

Death Rates Are Rising Across Rural America

In rural America, more people die from chronic health conditions and substance abuse than in suburbs and cities, and the gap is widening.

Researchers report in a new study that the difference in rural and urban death rates tripled over the past 20 years mostly due to deaths among middle-aged white men and women.

"We looked at all-cause death, and found that instead of the difference...

Think You Can Skip That Annual Physical?  Think Again

Despite calls from some leading health experts to scrap annual physicals because they are a waste of time and money, a new study finds advantages to routine screenings.

"While it is disappointing that I can't tell my patients a visit with me or my colleagues will help them live longer, it is good to know there are proven, measurable benefits," said senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Linder. ...

Drug Lynparza Could Help Fight Some Early-Stage Breast Cancers

A twice-daily pill can dramatically reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who are genetically prone to the disease, researchers report.

The pill - olaparib (Lynparza) - works by blocking a natural enzyme called PARP that normally fixes DNA damage in healthy cells, but in these women actually promotes the growth of cancerous cells.

Early high-risk breast cancer patient...

Average COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

The cost of COVID-19 hospitalizations averaged nearly $22,000 for older Americans in 2020 - and much more for those who became critically ill, a new government study finds.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the cost of COVID-19 care to the Medicare program, which covers Americans aged 65 and up.

On average, the investigators found, the prog...

Out-of-Pocket Costs Delay Cancer Follow-Up Care, Even for the Insured

About 1 in 10 U.S. cancer survivors delays follow-up care because they can't afford associated medical bills, even if they're insured.

That's the conclusion from an analysis of data from more than 5,400 survivors of various cancers. Most were insured, college-educated and had annual incomes above the national average. Their average age was 67, and most were female and white.

Up to 1...

Many Pre-Surgery Tests Are Useless, So Why Are Hospitals Still Using Them?

Patients facing relatively simple outpatient surgeries are nonetheless being told to undergo a number of preoperative tests that just aren't necessary, a new study reports.

More than half of a group of patients facing low-risk outpatient surgery received one or more tests -- blood work, urinalysis, an electrocardiogram (EKG), a chest X-ray -- prior to their operation.

One-third of p...

It's Still Tough to Find Prices on Most U.S. Hospital Websites

U.S. hospitals have been required to make their prices public since 2019, but 18 months into the rule more than half weren't doing it, a new study finds.

In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule requiring hospitals to publish their "chargemasters" on their websites. A chargemaster is a rundown of a hospital's services, along with their list prices - something akin to the manufactur...

For the Poor, Even a Small Medical Bill Can Trigger Coverage Loss

WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) - When people with low incomes are asked to help pay for their health insurance, some drop their coverage, even when bills as low as $20 per month arrive.

That's the upshot of a new study of Medicaid expansion in the state of Michigan.

Leaving the insurance plan means people may miss out on preventive care or timely treatment of illnesses. It...

Sleep Disorders Cost U.S. Health Care System Nearly $95 Billion Per Year

Sleep problems cost America's health care system nearly $95 billion a year and raise the cost of health care by 60%, a new study finds.

Researchers discovered the number of doctor visits and prescriptions was nearly doubled in people with sleep problems such as sleep apnea and insomnia, compared to people without these conditions. People with sleep problems were also more likely to visit...

Fear of Losing Health Insurance Keeps 1 in 6 U.S. Workers in Their Jobs

Many American workers remain in jobs they'd rather leave -- simply because they don't want to lose their health insurance, a new Gallup poll reveals.

That's the situation for 16% of respondents in a nationwide poll of more than 3,800 adults conducted March 15-21.

The fear is strongest among Black workers. Pollsters found they are more likely to keep an unwanted job at 21% than Hispa...

When Drug Companies Raise Prices, Patients' Out-of-Pocket Costs Rise

When prescription drug "list" prices go up, patients often take a hit in the wallet, a new study shows.

Researchers found that while some people are buffered against drug price hikes by their health insurance plan, many are not.

Those in plans that require co-insurance or a deductible for prescriptions typically watch their out-of-pocket expenses rise, according to the study.

Finding a Doctor Is Tough and Getting Tougher in Rural America

Health care in rural America has become ever more scarce during the coronavirus pandemic, with folks finding it increasingly difficult to find a doctor or get to a hospital.

For a decade, rural areas have been losing hospitals to financial problems, forcing residents to either drive long distances or shrug their shoulders and forgo needed care.

Add to that a nationwide shortage of d...

Is a Cheap 'Universal' Coronavirus Vaccine on the Way?

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine could potentially provide universal protection against future COVID variants as well as other coronaviruses -- maybe even the ones responsible for the common cold. And it's dirt cheap -- less than $1 a dose, researchers say.

The vaccine targets a part of the COVID virus' spike protein that appears to be highly resistant to mutation and is common across nea...

Cycling During Dialysis? It Might Help Patients

Dialysis is time-consuming, making it hard for kidney failure patients to keep fit. But cycling during treatment sessions could boost patients' heart health and cut medical costs, new research shows.

Dialysis can lead to long-term scarring of the heart, which can eventually lead to heart failure, so British researchers decided to find out if exercise could reduce these side effects.

Most Injured Workers Resume Jobs After Recovery, But Finances Suffer

About six in 10 U.S. workers who've been hospitalized for an injury return to their jobs, but physical disabilities and financial struggles are common, researchers say.

For the study, investigators analyzed federal survey data from trauma patients who were hospitalized with injuries between 2008 and 2017. The patients completed the surveys about seven weeks, on average, after leaving the ...

COVID Fears Mean More Cancers Are Being Diagnosed at Later Stages

Cancer screening rates are beginning to rebound after plummeting during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey finds.

And patients are being diagnosed with more advanced cancers than before the pandemic, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

"The trend toward more advanced disease, while alarming, does not automatically mean worse outcom...

Can a Drug Help Prevent Diabetic Vision Loss?

The overall eye health of people with diabetes benefits from preventive drug injections directly into the eyeball, but it's too soon to tell whether such treatment will better preserve their vision long-term, new clinical trial results show.

Regular injections of aflibercept (Eylea) caused a more than threefold reduction in blood vessel leakage inside the retina, and a more than twofold r...

Diabetes Is Deadlier for Black Americans: Study

Black people have higher diabetes death rates than white people in the 30 largest cities in the United States, a new study finds.

But placing a cap on the price of insulin could narrow that racial gap, according to researcher Joanna Buscemi, of DePaul University in Chicago. Insulin medication is needed by all people with type 1 diabetes and many who have type 2, the more common form of th...

Secondhand Smoke Is Sending Kids to the ER

Nonsmokers usually try to avoid secondhand smoke, but many kids have no option, and now a new study finds tobacco smoke exposure puts them at higher risk of hospitalization.

Compared to other kids, those exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to have had an urgent care visit over a one-year period, and to incur higher costs for such visits. They also were nearly twice as likely to b...

When Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Kids With Asthma Breathe Easier

Fewer children end up in ERs for asthma attacks if nearby coal-fired power plants are shut down, a new study finds.

"When these power plants close, we see a reduction of somewhere between 12% and 18% in emergency department visits for asthma," said senior researcher Emily Pakhtigian, an assistant professor of public policy at Pennsylvania State University. "When the plants close down, chi...

Obesity Costs the Average U.S. Adult Almost $1,900 per Year: Study

For people who are obese, even a small amount of weight gain may come with higher medical costs, a new study finds.

It's well known that obesity contributes to health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers -- and health care costs reflect that.

But the new study dug a little deeper into the connection between weight and medical costs. Overall, health ...

Shortage of Primary Care Doctors Is Costing American Lives

The United States could save thousands of lives each year by addressing its lack of enough primary care doctors, a new study projects.

There has been a shortfall of U.S. primary care doctors for a long time, with much of the problem concentrated in rural areas and poverty-stricken urban centers.

And the future looks bleak: A report last year from the Association of American Medical ...

'Race Gap' in U.S. Heart Health Has Changed Little in 20 Years: Report

Black Americans who live in rural areas are two to three times more likely to die from diabetes and high blood pressure compared with white rural folks, and this gap hasn't changed much over the last 20 years, new research shows.

The study spanned from 1999 through 2018, and will be published as a research letter in the March 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiolo...

Medical Bill Worries Tied to Worse Outcomes for Cancer Patients: Study

Financial worries can hamper the success of cancer treatment and raise patients' risk of death, according to a new study that offers the first evidence of such a link.

"The association we found was very strong, and very concerning," said senior study author Dr. Anurag Singh, director of radiation research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y. "If you are worried abo...

Opioid Use (and Overuse) for Knee Arthritis Takes Big Financial Toll

Opioids and arthritic knees are a costly mix, new research claims.

"These data offer new evidence of the magnitude of the societal burden generated by opioid use and misuse, and could be used to educate health care providers and health policy decision makers on the best alternatives to opiate use," said lead investigator Elena Losina. She's a professor of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and...

Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

If Protections Expire, COVID Patients Could Soon Face Big Medical Bills

Older Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan could face hospital bills of $1,000 or more if private insurers start charging out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving COVID-19 care, a new study warns.

Cost data show that Medicare Advantage patients pay an average $987 out-of-pocket when they are hospitalized with the seasonal flu, and about 3% pay more than $2,500, according to the report.

...

Pandemic Is Hitting Hospitals Hard, Including Their Bottom Line

U.S. hospitals are expected to lose billions again in 2021, leaving them in dire financial shape as the COVID-19 pandemic guts the industry for a second year.

Hospitals could lose $53 billion to $122 billion in revenue in 2021, between 4% and 10% of their total revenue, according to an analysis prepared by consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates for the American Hospital Association.

3D Mammograms Best at Spotting Tumors, But Many Black Women Missing Out

Access to potentially lifesaving 3D mammography isn't equal, new research shows.

"This study was about whether adoption of this technology is equitable. We're showing that it has not been, even though it has been [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved for a decade now," said Dr. Christoph Lee. He is professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattl...

Compared to Other Countries, Americans Pay Much More for Prescription Drugs

Americans pay nearly three times more for prescription drugs than people in dozens of other countries, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed 2018 data and found that prescription drug prices in the United States average 2.5 times more than in 32 other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The cost of brand-name drugs is even more -- an average of 3...

1 in 5 Americans Has an STD: CDC

According to 2018 data, one in five people in the United States probably carries a sexually transmitted infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

On any given day in 2018, nearly 68 million people had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the new CDC report. There were 26 million new cases that year. The agency refers to these diseases -- such as HIV, sy...

Are Pricey Air Ambulance Rides Really Saving More Lives?

Air ambulance service is pricey, but promises lifesaving speed by providing rapid straight-line helicopter transport for critically ill patients.

But a new study out of Denmark questions whether that expensive haste winds up saving more lives.

Researchers found no statistically significant difference in the death rate between people transported by ground ambulance or helicopter, acc...

3 Steps Could Nearly Eliminate COVID Infections on College Campuses: Study

A combination of mask use, social distancing and routine testing would eliminate nearly all COVID-19 infections on U.S. college campuses, a new study claims.

Using a computer model that simulated a semester of a mid-sized college (5,000 students and 1,000 faculty), researchers assessed the effectiveness and cost of 24 combinations of four common preventive strategies: social distancing; m...

Many Americans Don't See Links Between Racism,  Health Outcomes: Poll

Many Americans most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic don't believe that racism is associated with poorer health, a nationwide poll shows.

The ongoing poll of more than 4,000 lower- and middle-income Americans focuses on communities of color.

"It really struck us that -- despite the virus's spread across the country to all types of communities -- there's not a consensus view on the ...

Crowdsourcing Raises Billions for Families Hit Hard by Medical Bills

You have probably seen the social media posts: Your good friend's co-worker is raising money online to help pay for cancer treatments or another friend needs funds to pay medical bills after a car crash.

Crowdsourced fundraising seems to, at least partly, fill a gap between out-of-pocket health care costs and what people can afford.

A new study looked at what the role of one of the ...

Moves, Evictions Often Trigger Harmful Breaks in Health Care: Study

Research brings grim findings for these economically tough times: People who must move because they can't make the rent often miss out on needed medical care.

The study, of over 146,000 California residents, found a connection between unaffordable housing and health care use: Of people who'd moved in the past five years because they couldn't afford the mortgage or rent, about 27% had skip...

As Testing Costs Rise, Neurology Patients May Skip Screening

Rising out-of-pocket costs for neurological tests could lead many Americans to forgo them, researchers warn.

Their study, published online Dec. 23 in the journal Neurology, analyzed neurology care costs for more than 3.7 million people in a large private insurance claims database.

They found that average, inflation-adjusted out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic tests rose by a...

Radiation Rx for Prostate Cancer Can Cause Financial Pain: Study

People diagnosed with cancer often have many concerns, including "financial toxicity," the hardship and stress associated with the cost of treatment.

New research found that for men with early-stage prostate cancer, choices about initial treatments can be a source of stress. And the cost is a big reason why.

"Cost of treatment and the associated financial burden could be an importan...

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