Health Care

The Cost of Bringing a Person Into The World Via C-Section

TOTAL HOSPITAL BILLS: $43,871.25

TOTAL CO-PAYS: $1,000.00

TOTAL UNRESOLVED BILLS WHICH I BETTER NOT HAVE TO PAY BUT I MIGHT HAVE TO PAY AND I STILL HAVEN’T CALLED ABOUT AND THEY’RE THREATENING TO SEND TO COLLECTIONS BUT EVERY TIME I GO TO CALL THE BABY WAKES UP: $1422.00

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Your Waistline = Your Boss’s Business

Here is your open thread, brought to you by the lengths corporations will go to spend less on health insurance:

companies, facing rising health expenses, are increasingly buying or subsidizing fitness-tracking devices to encourage employees and their dependents to be more fit. The tactic may reduce corporate health-care costs by encouraging healthier lifestyles, even as companies must overcome a creepy factor and concerns from privacy advocates that employers are prying too deeply into workers’ personal lives. … Companies and insurers said they protect the privacy of people using wearable gadgets, and comply with federal laws that prevent employers from seeing certain health information about employees without consent. The wearable programs are voluntary and often administered by third-party vendors like StayWell, which works with BP.

Big Brother is watching you on behalf of your boss. What could be better?

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The “Give Everyone a Goalie” Kind of Sex Ed

Sex ed is a hot button issue in America because certain folks believe it’s not a good idea for public schools to acknowledge that unmarried humans also have genitals, so we have an alarmingly high teen birth rate compared to other developed nations. That costs everyone money. What if instead of arguing about whether it’s acceptable to have high schoolers roll condoms onto bananas, we gave every lady a goalie instead, i.e., went straight to funding long-term, reversible birth control?

Between 2007 and 2012, Colorado saw the highest percentage drop in birth rates among teens 15 to 19 in the country, according to a report released today by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. During that time, its teen birth rates dropped 39 percent compared to 29 percent nationwide. Abortion rates in the state among teens fell 35 percent between 2009 and 2012 and are falling nationally, as well.

The CDC’s report comes on the heels of Colorado’s own study, which reported a 40 percent decline in births among teens 15 to 19 from 2009 to 2013. The stunning decline in teen birth rates is significant not just for its size, but for its explanation. State public health officials are crediting a sustained, focused effort to offer low-income women free or low-cost long-acting reversible contraception, that is, intrauterine devices or implants. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative, supported by a $23 million anonymous donation, provided more than 30,000 IUDs or implants to women served by the state’s 68 family-planning clinics. The state’s analysis suggests the initiative was responsible for three-quarters of the decline in the state’s teen birth rates. … The state also saw a 50 percent drop in repeat pregnancies among teens. With a second child, the already-high odds are ratcheted up that a low-income mother will not finish high school, remain trapped at the low-paying end of the economic ladder and reliant upon public assistance. (You, taxpayer, may read this as ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.)

Women who elected to go with condoms, the pill, or the patch instead were twenty times more likely to get pregnancy accidentally than those who got the implant/insertion. Shifting more of them to the long-term methods saved taxpayers $12 billion just in 2010. TWELVE BILLION!@!#!! Several other states are following suit, expanding Medicaid to cover the costs of long-term devices for postpartum women.

God, I hope this is something we can all get behind.

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Link Roundup: Affluenza/Douchiness; Hospitals & Obamacare; Macy’s Settles with “Shoplifters”

+ Remember that Texas boy who killed a bunch of people and got off with a slap on the wrist because, his lawyers argued, his wealthy parents never taught him right from wrong? SHOCKER, his dad just got arrested. Not for never teaching his son “thou shalt not kill,” but for being a douche.

The father of the Texas teenager who killed four people while driving drunk and claimed his family’s wealth was partially to blame has been arrested for impersonating a police officer, legal documents showed. Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested on Tuesday for an incident that occurred on July 28 in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills. Couch is the father the then 16-year-old boy who was sentenced to probation for the deadly accident after his lawyers argued the enormous wealth of the youth’s family blinded him to responsibilities resulting from his actions.

+ Hospitals, Obamacare, and who qualifies for free emergency treatment.

While many charity care programs have been in place for decades, others were established following widespread complaints and lawsuits brought in the late 1990s over aggressive hospital collections tactics. Those included placing liens on patients’ homes and charging the uninsured the highest list prices, which were far more than what insurance companies paid on behalf of policyholders. Now, under the health law, nonprofit hospitals must make reasonable efforts to determine if patients qualify for help before taking tough collection tactics. And the law says the amount sought from the patient cannot be the hospitals’ list price, but an amount closer to what is generally billed to insured patients.

+ Macy’s pays $650,000 to settle with shoppers after acting like a shitty police state. Because America really needed another one of those. 

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How a Chronically Ill Person Does Money

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and from that point on nearly all of my major life choices have been made with it in mind, including picking a college major that would result in a job with health insurance.

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When You Splurge and the Results Are … Unexpected

This past weekend, the absence of my fella and Babygirl left me to my own devices, by which I mean the laptop and the ROKU box. (I finished the edits my agent wanted on my novel! I watched all of “Sherlock” Season 3!) It was glorious.

Most importantly, though, I at last at last enjoyed Birthday Massage #1. Following your sage advice, I went with two rubdowns at the local Brooklyn place I already know and love over three at the Manhattan place that may-or-may-not-be-awesome. The massage therapist at the Brooklyn place was great. She was also what some people might call a Chatty Cathy. I mean, the lady could talk.

There I was, facedown on a table, my modesty protected only by the equivalent of a moist towelette, in a candlelit room echoing with the soothing noises of “Vaguely Buddhist-Sounding Mix #431″ — I didn’t exactly feel empowered to say, “Um, would it be okay if we did this in silence?” Luckily Chatty Cathy was good at her job and her commentary didn’t take me out of the experience. Not like the very first time I splurged on a massage as an adult who badly needed one, having been laid off just before Christmas in the middle of the NYC transit strike, and got $50 worth of free advice from an Eastern European:

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Help a Reader Choose Her Health Care Plan

I’m looking for opinions on which of my company’s health care plans to choose, and I thought Billfold readers would be the perfect people to ask. I have three different medical plans to choose from. Vision and dental are separate plans.

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How To End Up With Oscar, “the Uber of Health Insurance”

STEP 1: Read something about a new approach to health insurance by and mostly for young people / millennials.

STEP 2: Retain a vague, positive impression of the company, which has a striking, unusual name, even if you can’t recall precisely what it is. Forget all relevant details.

STEP 3: Embark on a health insurance odyssey for your family. Your goal is to cover the three of you — two adults, one baby — for $850.

STEP 3.5: Think longingly of martinis. Shopping for health care is tedious and yet terrifying; a martini would probably help, but you’re a pitiful lightweight who barely drinks. Eat dark chocolate instead and try to focus on the task at hand.

STEP 4: Encounter, as an Obamacare option, Oscar. Think: Oscar? Oh yeah, I read about you! You’re the new kid on the block, right?

STEP 5: Read more press.

Under all its plans, Oscar allows its members unlimited free calls with physicians. The doctors are supposed to call back within an hour, but on average, calls are returned within seven minutes of being placed, says Mr. Nazemi. (Of course, many primary care physicians already provide this type of service to their existing patients.) These calls can provide a quick diagnosis and a prescription sent directly to a pharmacy for common ailments like pink eye and urinary tract infections. Oscar pays the physicians $40 a call, which is significantly less than it would reimburse for an office visit.

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Let’s Go Shopping for Health Care Plans! Pt 1

Picking health insurance is almost as much fun as going wedding dress shopping for a friend, except it isn’t at all, it’s boring with a hint of danger because if you mess it up you will pay and pay and pay.

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Vision Benefits

I recently got vision benefits through one of my jobs and went to see my eye doctor, who scolded me (rightly), for waiting more than a year to do an eye exam. I was running low on contact lenses and needed to order a new batch—which required a new eye exam.

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