This week, we look at three MRIs with four different price tags, and an enormous range.
Liz Salmi and a view of her brain. (Photo: Kaiser Health News)
The first two price tags come from listener Liz Salmi, who has been living with brain cancer for more than a decade.
Liz gets MRI scans twice a year, to make sure the cancer isn’t growing.
A couple years ago, Liz changed insurance, changed providers… and got serious sticker-shock when she saw the bill for a scan: $1,600 — AFTER insurance.
So when she needed a follow-up scan, she shopped around — and found an option that set her back less than 90 bucks.
Which is great news, and useful — as far as it goes: As Liz points out, not everybody has six months to shop around.
But Liz’s experience isn’t even the craziest MRI-price-tag story we look at this week. Stick around for that.
Coming in to bat cleanup — to help us understand why these prices are so crazy, and so variable — is journalistic super-star, friend of the show, and my new colleague:
Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. She breaks it down in an authoritative, funny, clear-as-glass way.
(Reminder: Kaiser Health News — our co-producers for this season — is not affiliated with the health care provider Kaiser Permanente. It’s a great story, and we’ve got it for you right here.)
This is the first of three episodes where we look at where health care prices come from. So this week it’s MRIs.
Next up: Prescription drugs.
And then: Insulin. Yep, we are going there.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Health care insiders get stupid medical bills too. One of them taught us how to write an insurance appeal—like the one that saved her son $14,000. You can read that letter—and her notes to …
When Adam Woodrum's insurance denied a claim for an ER bill, he sent his story to NPR... because he happened to KNOW how to deal with it. And he …
How hard is it to pick the best health insurance? ECONOMISTS find it hard. Including one who has studied the question, "How hard can it be to pick a decent insurance plan?"
Lots of people …
... and it's gonna take us a little while to get it ready for you— maybe a couple months. Meanwhile, we'll have little updates for you here and there.
... and it's a great time to sign up …
With COVID vaccinations ramping up, it's time to check in: Who's been trying to make a buck? And who's been doing their best to serve the folks who …
We're re-releasing and updating a story we first reported in 2019, about how insulin got to be so horribly expensive—the scientists who discovered it …