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Stories by Julie Appleby

Health insurance price data: It’s out there, but It’s not for the faint of heart

Health insurers are complying with federal rules aimed at price transparency that took effect July 1 and posting negotiated rates for just about every type of medical service - but it could be weeks before tech firms put the data dump of enormous proportions into usable forms.... Read more»0

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Judge’s ruling on the CDC mask mandate highlights the limits of the agency’s power

Public health experts worry the ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had overstepped its authority in requiring masks on public transportation, unless overturned, will hamper the agency’s ability to respond to future virus outbreaks.... Read more»0

Una prueba rápida negativa no significa que se está libre de COVID

Si bien la prueba de antígenos en el hogar para la COVID-19, que toma alrededor de 15 minutos, sigue siendo una herramienta útil y subutilizada para frenar la pandemia, a menudo se usa incorrectamente y puede brindar una falsa confianza.... Read more»0

Patients can't confidently learn much from one negative rapid COVID test

While COVID-19 home antigen testing, which takes about 15 minutes, remains a useful and underutilized tool to curb the pandemic, it is often misused and may provide false confidence - and a single negative result is no guarantee that a person is not ill or carrying the virus.... Read more»0

Suit by doctors, hospitals seeks change in how arbitrators settle surprise billing cases

Two of the largest lobbying groups representing physicians and hospitals filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a Biden administration decision on how to implement the law shielding patients from most surprise medical bills.... Read more»0

Insurance focused on virtual visits? The pros and cons of a new twist in health plans

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, people often relied on telemedicine for doctor visits; now, insurers are betting that some patients liked it enough to embrace new types of health coverage that encourages video visits — or outright insists on them.... Read more»0

If the unvaccinated want to work, they face a series of hurdles

With the Delta variant surging, a growing number of employers are tiring of merely cajoling workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and are following the protocol for federal workers: Either show proof of vaccination, or mask up and get regular testing if you want to work on-site.... Read more»0

Hospital prices must now be transparent, yet for consumers, they’re still anyone’s guess

Under a Trump administration price transparency rule that took effect at the start of this year, hospitals are required to post a range of actual prices, but some hospitals bury the data deep on their websites or have not included all the categories of prices required.... Read more»0

5 things to know about a COVID vaccine: It won’t be a 'magic wand'

Dozens of vaccine candidates are in various testing stages around the world, with 11 in the last stage of preapproval clinical trials — including four in the U.S. One or more may prove safe and effective and enter the market in the coming months. What then?... Read more»0

Why coronavirus testing takes so long: a behind-the-scenes look at the steps involved

After a slow start, testing for COVID-19 has ramped up in recent weeks, with giant commercial labs jumping into the effort, drive-up testing sites established in some places and new types of tests approved under emergency rules set by the Food and Drug Administration.... Read more»0

Opioid dependence leads to 'tsunami' of medical services, study finds

In one of the first looks at privately insured patients with opioid problems, researchers paint a grim picture: Medical services for people with opioid dependence diagnoses skyrocketed more than 3,000 percent between 2007 and 2014.... Read more»0

Feds unveil streamlined Obamacare website

Consumers using the federal healthcare.gov website when open enrollment begins next month should expect a faster website with a shorter application form and features making it easier to use on mobile devices, Obama administration officials said Wednesday.... Read more»0

Most health exchange purchasers were previously uninsured

The most satisfied were those who received subsidies; the least satisfied had their previous plans canceled, according to a new survey that looks at the experiences of those most affected by the new health law.... Read more»0

Insurers push back against growing cancer costs

Many insurers are encouraging the use of less-costly regimens and paying the same for drugs, whether they’re given in hospital outpatient settings or doctors’ offices. ... Read more»0

What happens next on the health law?

As the first open enrollment period draws to a close, here are seven things to watch for clues about what the health law's future might hold.... Read more»0

Three things to know before buying a health plan -- and where to find them

Consumers shopping for coverage in new online markets for health insurance will be able to see what plans are offered in their area, how much they will cost per month, what their annual deductibles are and whether their families might qualify for federal subsidies or Medicaid. But they should consider at least several other factors before making their decisions, which may take a little effort to ferret out. ... Read more»0

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