5 Things to Read on Health Care Costs

Our roundup includes a new tracker for prescription drug prices, trends in employer health insurance costs, and why one family received an $18,000 ER bill for care that consisted of a nap and infant formula.

$18k ER bill for a nap and a bottle

Vox shares the story of a couple who, while visiting San Francisco from South Korea, had to take their eight-month old to the emergency room after a scary fall. The doctors determined the child was fine, and was discharged after a nap and some infant formula. Two years later, they received the ER bill — for $18,836.

Tracking progress on drug prices

The Trump administration has been focused on bringing down the price of prescription drugs in the U.S. Bloomberg recently launched price indexes for 40 widely used drugs. “It’s a look at whether Trump’s rhetoric on prices since he was elected has had a major impact,” Bloomberg wrote. “(Hint: it hasn’t.).”

Employer health insurance costs growth slows

Costs for employer-sponsored health plans are growing more slowly now, a new survey found. Previously, costs were growing at 6 percent or more each year. The new survey found that since 2012, annual cost growth was closer to 3 percent. Healthcare Dive gets into specifics.

Entrepreneurs taking on health care costs

A recent Harvard Business Review article covers three entrepreneurs who are working on ways to save peoples’ eyesight, restore speech after throat cancer and provide continuous bedside monitoring for a fraction of current costs in the U.S.

Complexity in the health care system drives up costs

On The New York Times’ Upshot blog, economist Austin Frakt explores how complexity drives up administrative costs in the U.S. health care system. Frakt notes that some of this spending pays for things people generally like — such as quality improvement efforts. Other factors, however, include the amount of resources dedicated to billing and collections.

 

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