A version of this guest post was originally published in the National Underwriter. The views reflected here are not necessarily those of the NCL.
“The life insurance market is characterized not only by an absence of reliable price information, but also by the presence of deceptive price information...the deceptive sales practices found in the life insurance industry constitute a national scandal.” So testified Professor Joseph Belth, an expert on the life insurance industry, before Congress in 1973. Can this statement, from more than 40 years ago, still be as true today? And is it possible for such deplorable industry practices to be occurring without being in the spotlight of public attention?
A recent study shows that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate for insurance plans to cover contraceptives, we’ve seen a large reduction in out-of-pocket spending. In 2013, women saved $1.4 billion! This is important for all American women because too many skip preventive care and other health services due to cost. It appears that free contraception is having a large effect on the rate of pregnancies and abortions in the U.S. But some women are still paying out-of-pocket.
California’s Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) just delivered a big victory for patients and consumers by expressly recognizing that sponsored medication adherence programs for a currently prescribed drug (commonly called “refill reminders”) do not require patient authorization in California. In publishing its long-awaited State Health Information Policy Manual, CalOHII takes a step to harmonize the state’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) with the federal medical privacy laws and regulations (a.k.a., the HIPAA Privacy Rule).
Due to the work of the Facts Up Front campaign, today’s food products are marked with labels that advertise their nutrition facts. You have most likely seen them as the small snapshot of information on the front corners of products like cereal and bread. While this is a promising health campaign, consumers should be wary because these labels can often be misleading.
The King v. Burwell ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has allowed for approximately eight million consumers to keep their insurance coverage. In the King case, petitioners challenged the clause of the Affordable Care Act that stated subsidies are available to people who use an exchange “established by the State” to purchase insurance.
We’ve all been there. Sitting alone in a cold doctor’s office, listening to a re-run of the Dr. Oz show while waiting for your doctor to come back in the room with a diagnosis and prescription in hand. You can’t wait to leave and get back on the path to wellness. And who could blame you? No one likes to wait—especially when you don’t feel healthy. The doctor comes back, hands you your prescription, and gives you a brief overview about what the medication is and the appropriate dosage. But, what happens next is critical. Do you hop off that cold, uncomfortable patient bed and go on your merry way, or do you ask questions? Specifically, questions pertaining to the risks associated with this prescription medication.
This guest post was originally published at Reservoir Communications Group's blog.
What do you get when you put representatives from more than 30 of the nation’s leading patient-focused health organizations, companies and government agencies in a room, amidst a sea of sometimes-competing priorities that are specific to each of those organizations? Cacophony? Stalemate? Not at all, at least not during the National Consumers League’s (NCL) inaugural Health Advisory Council meeting.
In a formal complaint to the Food and Drug Administration this month, NCL is urging the federal agency to stop the sale of four brands of “100%” lemon juice that were recently tested and found to be heavily diluted with water. NCL tested four products, each of which turned out to contain only a small amount of real lemon juice!