A Last-Minute Guide to Buying Health Insurance

While the Affordable Care Act certainly has its detractors, 2014 was a good year for Obamacare. The self-employed, underemployed, or otherwise ineligible took advantage of the state and federal exchanges last year, and their participation drove the nationwide uninsured rate to its lowest ever. Insurance companies posted all-time high share prices in the third quarter last year thanks in part to an increased subscriber base provided by the law’s mandate. Healthcare.gov’s Marketplace is not as bad as you’ve heard. In fact, it’s pretty darn good. But the velvet rope is closing soon: The open enrollment deadline is February 15th.

Canada is Also Not an Abortion Utopia, Unfortunately

Women's rights in the north.

Drug Companies Save Lives (But Only If There’s Money For Them)

"An inexpensive drug that can prevent some life-threatening heart rhythm problems is unavailable in most places, according to a new survey of doctors in 131 countries."

How Much is Too Much for a Root Canal?

Annabelle: What is a reasonable amount to pay for a root canal in NYC because I have to get one and HOLY SHIT

Ester: Oh no!

Annabelle: It is so expensive. Should I go to the suburbs?

Ester: :( :( :( You don’t have dental?

Annabelle: No. we don’t. [My boss] claims that dental insurance isn’t worth it/isn’t possible for small businesses. And I naively didn’t put nearly this much into my FSA. It’s $2,100!!!!

Ester: Oh wow.

Annabelle: Bonkers right.

Ester: Totally bonkers.

Annabelle: The economy of dental confounds me. Is dental insurance worth it? What is reasonable?

Technically Legal But In Actuality Not

Natasha Vargas Cooper breaks down how abortion rights are restricted across the country: "While it is unconstitutional to ban abortions outright, states like Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia and a dozen others have been chipping away at women’s right to choose by keeping abortion technically legal, but increasingly difficult to obtain. Here’s how they do it."

Adventures in Tooth Care Adventurous/Terrible/Expensive, Even With Insurance

Teeth are expensive.

Ok I Get It, You Can Worry About Cost Now, You Have My Permission

Andrew T. Gray is a physician’s assistant who had often told patients not to worry about the cost, to worry about their health. And then he found himself admitted to the ER without insurance. OOPS.

How Drugs Get Priced (How to Pay for Them Up to You)

“Why does Gleevec, a leukemia drug that costs $70,000 per year in the United States, cost just $2,500 in India?” THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU! (Actually it probably won’t. Patents, is the reason, and This Atlantic article on drug companies and patents and the Indian government explains how drugs are priced and how some people are trying to change that and have been trying to change that for a long time.)

You Should Get That Checked Out: Some Considerations

1. High school. I’ve been getting my period for four years but it’s never been normal, and I’m worried. This despite the fact that irregular periods in high school are actually more normal than regular periods in high school. I must be the outlier. There must be a reason. That reason must be cancer. Bloodwork. Ultrasound. Inconclusive. Everything looks normal, if it lasts a few more years, get another checkup. Oh I will. Cost: No idea. I didn’t think about things like “money” back then, only HEALTH. (Paid by parents.)

2. College. Abdominal pain. Am I stressed? Uh, it’s college? Time of my life? Totally not stressed, except about fact that this dull ache is probably cancer. Student health refers me to gastro specialist, who orders a colonoscopy. Results inconclusive. Pain eventually goes away. Cost: ??? plus my mom took off work and drove to my university town and booked a hotel room for my colonoscopy because she is a wonderful mother and then afterwards she bought me so much stuff from Whole Foods, it all must have been  additional hundreds on top of that why are my parents so great I don’t know. (Paid by parents.)