health care costs

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Sweeping plan put forward to control rising health care costs

doctor image by Phalinn Ooi

After spending six months studying new ways to control ever-growing health care costs, a state-hired consulting firm presented a plan to Connecticut’s Health Care Cabinet Tuesday that calls for the largest reorganization and consolidation of health-related state agencies in two decades. Continue Reading →

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Yeah, CT health care costs are high, but which ones are highest?

How the average prices paid for privately insured patients compared to the national average for abdomen X-rays. In Connecticut, the price was more than 33 percent higher than the national average.

The amount paid for a cesarean childbirth and newborn care in the hospital, for example, averaged $20,107 in Connecticut – 26 percent above the national average of $15,917, according to data based on claims paid by three private insurance companies. But costs also ranged within the state, averaging $20,773 in the Bridgeport area, $19,715 in the Hartford region, and $18,915 in and around New Haven. Continue Reading →

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Expert: Transparency, savvy patients, competition key in tackling health care prices

This is a picture of Zack Cooper

Zack Cooper recently co-authored a high-profile paper linking higher hospital prices to market power. He advocates for strong antitrust enforcement when it comes to health care consolidation. But when his father was very sick, Cooper told state policymakers, he wanted him to go to a large medical center that treated a high volume of patients with the same condition. “There’s this tension,” he said. Continue Reading →

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In shoreline cancer treatment dispute, questions about hospital competition

mx con image

What began with a plan to replace an aging piece of medical equipment has turned into a dispute over the delivery of cancer care along Connecticut’s affluent shoreline. And at a time when policymakers have expressed worries about preserving competition in the state’s fast-consolidating health care market, one side has suggested the case highlights questions about competition – and the way state regulation can limit it. Continue Reading →

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How well will new rules on health care cost transparency work?

health care cost transparency graphic

Lisa Freeman recently tried an experiment: Before having a medical diagnostic test, she tried to figure out what it would cost. “It took no less than five phone calls, and I still never got to the end of the thing,” she said. A major transparency law intended to change that is taking effect this year. How will it work in practice? Health care providers say it might be bumpy at first. Continue Reading →

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Specialty drug prices threaten health care affordability

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo

The state employee health plan has tailored its design to encourage people to manage chronic conditions, get preventive care and avoid emergency room visits. But costs are being driven up by the rising expense of specialty drugs for conditions including Hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis and cancer. It’s a challenge that’s not unique to the state employee health plans, health care experts said Tuesday. Continue Reading →

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Premiums grow modestly for employer insurance coverage, but deductibles grow faster

The cost of employer-sponsored insurance premiums grew by 4 percent this year, continuing a trend of relatively modest growth, but the share of medical costs patients pay when they get care continued to rise far faster, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust. Continue Reading →

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As hospitals buy medical practices, patients face thousands of dollars in new charges

Vicki Veltri 5-22-13 ALB

At first, the $4,000 medical bill didn’t worry Susan Ferro. She was certain it was a mistake. Two years ago, when she’d gone to the same radiology office for the same procedure — a needle aspiration biopsy of a lump in her breast — Ferro’s insurance paid. But when Ferro called the doctor’s office, she learned it wasn’t a mistake. Since her 2010 biopsy, the radiology practice had been bought by Norwalk Hospital. Continue Reading →

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