EHP Blog

When The Cost For Care Is Too High Even For Those Who Have Coverage, Patients End Up Gambling With Their Health

These are striking examples of consumer trapped in the healthcare prison.

Getting coverage can be just the first hurdle when it comes to navigating the high costs in the health industry. Many patients are delaying or even skipping care completely because they can’t afford it. In other news on health care costs and the industry: uninsured children, Medicaid payments, Oscar Health, the senior care-home industry, another Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, and more.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: ‘I Basically Have To Stay Sick:’ NE Ohioans Feel The Costs Of Delaying Health CareIn 7% of U.S. households, at least one person delayed medical care during the previous year because of worry about cost, according to results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Delaying care can hurt health outcomes and result in higher health care costs.’Yet, for many, skipping treatment isn’t a choice. (Christ, 1/5)

Columbus Dispatch: Cause For Alarm: Thousands More Ohio Children Have Lost Health Insurance – News – The Columbus Dispatch Thousands more of Ohio’s youngest children had no health insurance coverage in 2018, reversing a multi-year decline in the rate of uninsured children younger than 6. The Buckeye State’s uninsured rate for infants, toddlers and preschoolers climbed to 5% in 2018 from 3.6% in 2016, a 40% jump that ranked as third-highest in the nation. Ohio had 41,642 children without health coverage, an increase of nearly 12,000 in two years, according to a recent study by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. (Candisky, 1/6)

Des Moines Register: Iowa Withholds $44 Million From Medicaid Insurer Over Unresolved IssuesIowa health officials are withholding $44 million from an insurance company that provides health coverage to Iowans under the state’s privatized Medicaid program, pointing to unresolved issues with payments to health providers. Iowa Department of Human Services staff told Iowa Total Care representatives Friday that the state will withhold about a third of the amount it would have otherwise paid the company this month. (Rodriguez, 1/3)

Modern Healthcare: Oscar Health Cuts Walgreens, Duane Reade Locations From Its NetworkOscar Health stopped covering Walgreens, plus some Duane Reade and Rite Aid locations, as part of its New York pharmacy network Jan. 1. Instead it is directing New York members to CVS as its preferred retail pharmacy and startup pharmacy Capsule, which it formed a partnership with last month. Its network also includes independent pharmacies. (Lamantia, 1/3)

Reveal: Lawmakers, Regulators Take On Senior Care-Home Operators Over Wage Theft, Worker AbuseRevelations about wage theft and abusive treatment of caregivers in America’s senior care-home industry have prompted tougher enforcement, a congressional hearing and plans for new state legislation in 2020. Responding to a series of stories by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said he intends to hold an oversight hearing early this year in which he will press Labor Department officials to crack down on widespread exploitation in the booming industry. (Gollan, 1/3)

The New York Times: Johnson & Johnson Sued Over Baby Powder By New MexicoThe accusations in a new lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson sound familiar: The consumer goods giant knew for decades that its baby powder and other talc-based products were contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos, but continued to market the items. What makes this case different is that it was brought by a state. Hector Balderas, the attorney general of New Mexico, accused Johnson & Johnson on Thursday of misleading consumers, especially children and black and Hispanic women, about the safety of its talc products. (Hsu, 1/3)

The Hill: Delta Workers File Lawsuits Claiming Uniforms Causing Medical ProblemsHundreds of Delta Air Lines employees are suing Wisconsin-based clothing company Lands’ End, claiming uniforms made by the company have caused serious health problems. The first class-action lawsuit was filed in October, and the second was filed Tuesday in Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin State Journal reported on Friday. The filings allege that the uniforms — unveiled in May 2018 — caused multiple Delta employees to suffer from a variety of health problems, including skin rashes, hair loss, low white blood cell counts, migraines and breathing difficulties. (Johnson, 1/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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