insurers selling individual health insurance by county
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A Consumer’s Guide to This Week’s Happenings in the Healthcare World

More Insurer’s Pulling Out of Exchanges

If you buy your own health insurance you might be confused about which insurance companies will be offering health plans for you to buy next year. Anthem dropped their plans in Ohio last week, but just recently Aetna and Centene are talking about offering plans in new states and counties. 32,000 people are predicted to have no health insurance options. Check out the map and see what your options will likely be for 2018.

Where in the World is the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare) Now?

When we last tuned in to the repeal and replace efforts, the House passed their newest version of the American Health Care Act. The Senate is still working on it, but it doesn't stop the rumors. Here are the highlights for your consideration:

  1. We would like to vote on something by the 4th of July
  2. We would like to vote on something by the end of the summer
  3. There will be no public hearings on the Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act
  4. The deliberations are being conducted in secret
  5. Senate Conservatives are upset
  6. Senate Moderates are upset
  7. The House bill is mean, mean, mean

Well you get the picture--business as usual. We will keep you updated with any new developments.

Can you pick the Top 5 medical specialties most people call?  

And while you’re at it can you guess how much money they make? According to a recent report published by Merritt Hawkins here are the top ten searches by medical specialties along with their average annual salary (based on salaries in the Midwest/Great Plains).

Family Medicine $236,000
Psychiatry $257,000
Internist $260,000
Nurse Practicioner $128,000
OB/GYN $352,000

Wait Times to See a Doctor--Am I correct that it seems to take longer? 

You are indeed correct.  Here are the average days it takes between setting up your doctor appointment and actually seeing them:

2017 24.1 days
2014 18.5 days
2009 20.5 days
2004 20.9 days

What Can I do as a Minority to Stop Ineffective Medical Care from My Doctor?

According to a recent study blacks and hispanics are more likely to receive medical treatment that is unnecessary compared to white patients.

In recent years we have a clearer picture of medical services that are unnecessary and too expensive for the benefits they advertise. In some cases these services may do more harm than good. These services are called low-value care. Examples include imaging for low back pain, cervical cancer screening in women (older than 65) and the overuse of antibiotics.

The Health Affairs study found that black and Hispanic patients often received more of these low value services than white patients. Specific examples include:

  • Dementia patients receiving inappropriate feeding tubes
  • Unnecessary heart screening and testing before operations
  • Increased opioid prescriptions for migraines
  • Bone density testing

So in addition to receiving less care, this study suggests that some of the care being provided is not effective.

What Can Help:

1. Be aware that not every medical test is necessary.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get a second opinion from another physician.