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A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

healthcare - All posts tagged healthcare

  • Aug 18, 2011
    10:34 AM ET

    Blood Pressure Alert: Health Care Costs Set to Climb

    iStockphoto

    Consumers can’t get a break. Food prices keep rising, the market remains volatile and now health care costs are on the way up.

    The cost of employee health care benefits is expected to rise by more than 7% in 2012, according to a report released today by the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit industry association.

    In response, employers are planning to shift more of those costs to workers. Next year, more than half of employers plan to increase how much employees contribute to premiums and 39% plan to raise in-network deductibles, according to the same survey.

  • Aug 2, 2011
    2:08 PM ET

    Birth Control Without A Co-Pay Still Isn’t Free

    iStockphoto

    Starting next year, many health insurance plans will be required as part of the federal health-care law to cover contraceptive services without charging patients a co-payment. But that doesn’t mean they’re free.

    The Obama administration announced Monday that Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives — including birth control bills, intrauterine contraceptive devices (a.k.a. ICDs or IUDs) and sterilization — classify as preventative services under the law. The requirement also covers HIV screening, breastfeeding pumps and some wellness care visits for women, among other services.

    For women on the pill, savings could be substantial. For oral contraceptives, out-of-pocket costs range from $14 to $26 per pack, according to a study in the June 2011 issue of medical journal Contraception. The study, which tracked expenditures between 1996 and 2006, found that women’s out-of-pocket expenses for oral contraceptives amounted to 58% of the drugs’ cost, compared with an average 30% of those for other monthly medications.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.