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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Topic: insurance exchange

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

December 5, 2013 at 11:08 AM

One way Obamacare could nudge down medical costs

At the end of my daughter’s annual checkup this year, her doctor asked if we had any concerns. Almost as an afterthought I mentioned the little wart at the end of one of her toes (note to self: get my kid flip- flops for the gym pool and showers!).No problem, said the pediatrician. In a flash she pared away some of wart with a small scalpel and froze what remained with liquid nitrogen on a Q-Tip. It took five minutes.

Historically, I have been a lazy health-care shopper. My family has always had insurance through employers and we’re generally healthy. I never ask what something will cost (chances are the doc won’t know anyhow) and I rarely scrutinize doctor’s bills.

That’s before I got the wart invoice.

Our doctor’s office billed $269 for the procedure, which was coded as “DESTRUCTION EG, LASER SURGERY.” Our insurance carrier, Aetna, got that reduced to $204.40, and that’s what we’re going to have to pay. For wart removal.

The New York Times this week published two more articles on the cost of U.S. medical care in its “Paying Till It Hurts” series. The series compares the costs of various procedures at hospitals and clinics around the country, and between nations. It’s terrifying. A story Monday delved into stitches costing $500 a piece. An article yesterday documented ambulance rides lasting two blocks and costing $900.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Healthplanfinder

October 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Ask health-insurance questions, sign up Saturday in Bellevue

If you live on the Eastside and want to learn more about possibly buying health-insurance coverage on the state’s new exchange, Saturday presents a good opportunity. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crossroads Bellevue mall, staff known as “assisters” will be on hand to help you compare coverage plans, determine eligibility for subsidies, or…

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Comments | Topics: Crossroads Mall, insurance exchange, Public Health - Seattle & King County

October 17, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Idaho insurance exchange official quits as his company wins contract — from the exchange

Here’s a story of out of Idaho about a board member of that state’s health-insurance exchange whose company got a no-bid contract from — wait for it — the health-insurance exchange. Nice work if you can get it? Oh, he quit the exchange the same day the exchange awarded his company the contract worth up to…

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Comments | Topics: Frank Chan, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, Idaho

October 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM

Get your insurance questions answered Saturday in Lake Forest Park

Those wanting to talk to a real, live human being about finding insurance on the Washington state exchange can attend an event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Lake Forest Park. For many, this might prove easier than going online. Help will be on hand at Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Way, N.E. Public Health…

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Comments | Topics: insurance exchange, Public Health - Seattle & King County, Third Place Commons