The average amount spent on healthcare per person reached $10,348 in 2016, surpassing $10,000 for the first time, according to an annual report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The amount is a $354 increase from the year before.
The latest findings, published in the journal Health Affairs, reflect spending on healthcare across the board, including from private health insurance, the government, employers, and individuals.
Spending by those groups grew by an average of 4.3 percent, resulting in a spending total of $3.3 trillion. The share of the gross domestic product devoted to healthcare climbed to 17.9 percent from 17.7 percent in 2015.
It’s long been known that hormonal contraception, like any medicine, carries some risks. But doctors and women have hoped that the newer generations of low-dose contraceptive pills, IUDs and implants eliminated the breast cancer risk of earlier, higher-dose formulations.
Now a big study from Denmark suggests the elevated risk of getting breast cancer — while still very small for women in their teens, 20s and 30s – holds true for these low-dose methods, too.
In the research published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of scientists studied 1.8 million women between the ages of 15 and 49. They were looking to see what happened over a stretch of nearly 11 years among women who used hormonal birth control — usually a combination of estrogen and progestin — versus women who relied on non-hormonal contraceptive methods, such as a condom, diaphragm or copper IUD.
Linda Radach has had six hip replacement operations since 2006, three on each side. Osteoarthritis was the reason she needed surgery in the first place, but replacing her hips in some ways only worsened her troubles.
Following two of the procedures, the implanted metal socket didn’t integrate with the bone of her own hip socket and was loose, causing excruciating pain. Most recently, the titanium metal ball in her hip corroded.
Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the majority of deaths. When on the scalp it can be especially difficult to catch in a self-examination — when was the last time you examined the top of your head?
One person who might be able to help: your hairdresser. While cutting your hair, they’ve got a great view for a scalp inspection. And they can learn how to spot scary changes, researchers say.
In a report published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology, researchers from the University of Southern California and University of Colorado Denver detailed their efforts to educate hairdressers with a training video. Hairdressers had told some of the same researchers that they wanted to learn more about melanoma detection in an earlier survey, so they seemed like willing participants.
More than 3.6 million people signed up for a health plan in the first five weeks of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, the CMS said Wednesday. With little more than a week before enrollment ends for individual exchange coverage, the number of sign-ups has fallen way behind the pace of previous years, given the shortened enrollment period.The ACA’s fifth open enrollment is almost three-quarters of the way through. The Trump administration shortened the period to 45 days from 90 days, and it will end on Dec. 15.During previous ACA enrollment periods in the past two years, more than 7.2 million people had signed up for coverage when the period was almost 75% complete, according to an analysis by consulting firm Avalere Health.
The number of Americans getting Affordable Care Act health plans for the coming year accelerated last week in states relying on the federal insurance exchange, bringing the total to 3.6 million sign-ups with less than two weeks left in an abbreviated enrollment season.
The latest federal snapshot, coming amid fresh political turbulence over the future of insurance marketplaces created under the law, is slightly ahead of the first five weeks’ pace last fall. But compared with data from two-thirds of the way through the longer enrollment seasons of past years, the number of consumers who have chosen health plans is lagging far behind.
Health insurance a la carte?
As the Affordable Care Act open-enrollment season moves into its final weeks, some consumers looking for lower-cost alternatives are considering a patchwork approach to health insurance. The products may secure some basic protection but leave patients on the hook for high medical bills.
The idea involves mixing and matching several types of insurance products originally designed to cover the deductibles and other gaps in traditional coverage.
Cyndee Weston can barely remember the last time she didn’t have to switch health plans during an Affordable Care Act sign-up season. By her count, she has been on five plans in five years.
Every fall, after she has spent months figuring out her insurance plan’s deductibles, doctor networks, list of covered drugs and other fine print, she receives notice that the policy will be canceled as of Dec. 31. Because her job doesn’t come with insurance, “it’s agonizing going through all the plans and trying to compare,” said Weston, 55, who has diabetes and a history of melanoma. “Every year it’s the same scenario: ‘We’re not going to renew your policy.’”
“Los Angeles is no ordinary place.” These are the words of Dr. Richard “Buz” Cooper whose life work explored the effects of poverty on healthcare.
Dr. Cooper used Los Angeles as one lens to explore the relationship between income and healthcare costs in his 2016 book, Poverty and the Myths of Health Care Reform. Ranking just behind New York in the number of millionaires, Los Angeles ranks first in the number of poor. The cost of living in Los Angeles is 30 percent above the national average, however, almost 30 percent of the population – that’s more than the total population of Chicago – lives on an income of less than $12,500.
What’s different from other areas in the U.S. affected by poverty is the broad geographic dispersion of Los Angeles. Poverty is more widely spread across many separate municipalities, versus concentrated to a specific region. In L.A., Medicare spending per enrollee is 60 percent more than in the lowest spending regions of the U.S.
Enrollment in health plans on Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act, was up 28 percent in November compared to the same period last year, according to figures released by Covered California on Wednesday.
About 102,000 new consumers selected a health plan on the exchange during the first month of open enrollment, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 — up from the 80,000 people who did so during the same period last year.
All the talk about killing the Affordable Care Act this year apparently has not sent Californians running from Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.
According to an update released Wednesday, more than 102,000 Californians signed up for Covered California policies in November, a 28 percent increase over last year.
While some analysts have said they expect exchanges operated by the federal government in other states to see enrollment decrease by about 20 percent, California seems to be bucking that trend.
Demand for hospital and physician services waned slightly in 2016 following intense demand in the prior year, according to a new government report released Wednesday.Spending for hospital services hit $1.1 trillion, an increase of 4.7% in 2016. However, that was slower than the rate of 5.6% between 2014 and 2015. Spending on physician and clinical services grew 5.4% to hit $664.9 billion, which was down from a prior growth rate of 6.3%, according to the analysis by CMS Actuary Micah Hartman. The slower growth in hospital and physician services is the result of decreased care needs. Rates spiked in 2015 because more people had health insurance thanks to Affordable Care Act coverage gains in the individual market and Medicaid.
Once a week, Dr. Diana Sylvestre puts her medical expertise to use in a rickety old house frequented by drug users in this small Northern California city.
She sets up in a stuffy office no bigger than a walk-in closet, just feet from a room where people who shoot heroin or methamphetamine drop off used needles and pick up clean ones. The needle exchange and Sylvestre’s makeshift clinic are under the same roof, part of a program run by the Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network.
Jay Konduros used to rush home several times a year after accidentally cutting or bumping himself. There he would inject himself with refrigerated blood-clotting factor to prevent internal bleeding and extensive bruising and swelling. “I was walking on eggshells all the time,” said the former aerospace engineer who has a blood disorder called hemophilia B.
Then, last year, Konduros enrolled in a clinical trial, receiving an experimental gene therapy at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Almost immediately, he began producing the missing clotting factor. Several weeks later, after he dropped a heavy box on his shin, he watched a bruise develop and shrink within hours. “Are you kidding me?” he thought. “Life’s easy if this is what happens.”
Konduros, 53, who runs a bakery and cafe in southeastern Ontario, is one of 10 men in an early-stage trial sponsored by Spark Therapeutics. (The disorder is much more common in men than women.) On Wednesday, researchers reported that a single intravenous infusion of Spark’s novel gene therapy enabled patients to safely produce sufficient clotting factor to prevent dangerous bleeding episodes.
Whether it’s colon cancer, breast cancer, or ovarian cancer, survival rates in the U.S. are lower for black people than for white people, three new studies show.
All three were published in the journal Cancer. In one, Dr. Arica White from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and her team looked at colon cancer survival rates in 2001-2003 and 2004-2009.
Overall, the proportion of patients still alive five years after diagnosis improved slightly between those two periods, from 63.7 percent to 64.6 percent.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. will buy DaVita Inc.’s physician group for about $4.9 billion in cash, in the latest sign of how the parent of the biggest U.S. insurer is rapidly expanding its role as a health-care provider.
UnitedHealth’s deal for one of the nation’s biggest doctor groups, coming the same week as pharmacy giant CVS Health Corp. sealed its $69 billion deal to buy insurer Aetna Inc., underscores how health-care companies are forging deeper into segments outside their traditional core businesses.
UnitedHealth Group has agreed to buy dialysis provider DaVita’s medical unit for $4.9 billion in cash to expand the national insurer’s outpatient care services, the company said Wednesday.DaVita Medical Group will be combined with UnitedHealth’s Optum, which runs the non-insurance portions of UnitedHealth’s business including primary and secondary care, consulting and data analytics. DaVita Medical Group’s physician network provides care to approximately 1.7 million patients every year via its 300 clinics in California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington state. The group also runs 35 urgent-care centers and six outpatient surgery centers.