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Most Injured Workers Resume Jobs After Recovery, But Finances Suffer

About six in 10 U.S. workers who've been hospitalized for an injury return to their jobs, but physical disabilities and financial struggles are common, researchers say.

For the study, investigators analyzed federal survey data from trauma patients who were hospitalized with injuries between 2008 and 2017. The patients completed the surveys about seven weeks, on average, after leaving the ...

COVID Fears Mean More Cancers Are Being Diagnosed at Later Stages

Cancer screening rates are beginning to rebound after plummeting during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey finds.

And patients are being diagnosed with more advanced cancers than before the pandemic, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

"The trend toward more advanced disease, while alarming, does not automatically mean worse outcom...

Can a Drug Help Prevent Diabetic Vision Loss?

The overall eye health of people with diabetes benefits from preventive drug injections directly into the eyeball, but it's too soon to tell whether such treatment will better preserve their vision long-term, new clinical trial results show.

Regular injections of aflibercept (Eylea) caused a more than threefold reduction in blood vessel leakage inside the retina, and a more than twofold r...

Diabetes Is Deadlier for Black Americans: Study

Black people have higher diabetes death rates than white people in the 30 largest cities in the United States, a new study finds.

But placing a cap on the price of insulin could narrow that racial gap, according to researcher Joanna Buscemi, of DePaul University in Chicago. Insulin medication is needed by all people with type 1 diabetes and many who have type 2, the more common form of th...

Secondhand Smoke Is Sending Kids to the ER

Nonsmokers usually try to avoid secondhand smoke, but many kids have no option, and now a new study finds tobacco smoke exposure puts them at higher risk of hospitalization.

Compared to other kids, those exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to have had an urgent care visit over a one-year period, and to incur higher costs for such visits. They also were nearly twice as likely to b...

When Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Kids With Asthma Breathe Easier

Fewer children end up in ERs for asthma attacks if nearby coal-fired power plants are shut down, a new study finds.

"When these power plants close, we see a reduction of somewhere between 12% and 18% in emergency department visits for asthma," said senior researcher Emily Pakhtigian, an assistant professor of public policy at Pennsylvania State University. "When the plants close down, chi...

Obesity Costs the Average U.S. Adult Almost $1,900 per Year: Study

For people who are obese, even a small amount of weight gain may come with higher medical costs, a new study finds.

It's well known that obesity contributes to health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers -- and health care costs reflect that.

But the new study dug a little deeper into the connection between weight and medical costs. Overall, health ...

Shortage of Primary Care Doctors Is Costing American Lives

The United States could save thousands of lives each year by addressing its lack of enough primary care doctors, a new study projects.

There has been a shortfall of U.S. primary care doctors for a long time, with much of the problem concentrated in rural areas and poverty-stricken urban centers.

And the future looks bleak: A report last year from the Association of American Medical ...

'Race Gap' in U.S. Heart Health Has Changed Little in 20 Years: Report

Black Americans who live in rural areas are two to three times more likely to die from diabetes and high blood pressure compared with white rural folks, and this gap hasn't changed much over the last 20 years, new research shows.

The study spanned from 1999 through 2018, and will be published as a research letter in the March 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiolo...

Medical Bill Worries Tied to Worse Outcomes for Cancer Patients: Study

Financial worries can hamper the success of cancer treatment and raise patients' risk of death, according to a new study that offers the first evidence of such a link.

"The association we found was very strong, and very concerning," said senior study author Dr. Anurag Singh, director of radiation research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y. "If you are worried abo...

Opioid Use (and Overuse) for Knee Arthritis Takes Big Financial Toll

Opioids and arthritic knees are a costly mix, new research claims.

"These data offer new evidence of the magnitude of the societal burden generated by opioid use and misuse, and could be used to educate health care providers and health policy decision makers on the best alternatives to opiate use," said lead investigator Elena Losina. She's a professor of orthopedic surgery at Brigham and...

Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

If Protections Expire, COVID Patients Could Soon Face Big Medical Bills

Older Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan could face hospital bills of $1,000 or more if private insurers start charging out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving COVID-19 care, a new study warns.

Cost data show that Medicare Advantage patients pay an average $987 out-of-pocket when they are hospitalized with the seasonal flu, and about 3% pay more than $2,500, according to the report.

...

Pandemic Is Hitting Hospitals Hard, Including Their Bottom Line

U.S. hospitals are expected to lose billions again in 2021, leaving them in dire financial shape as the COVID-19 pandemic guts the industry for a second year.

Hospitals could lose $53 billion to $122 billion in revenue in 2021, between 4% and 10% of their total revenue, according to an analysis prepared by consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates for the American Hospital Association.

3D Mammograms Best at Spotting Tumors, But Many Black Women Missing Out

Access to potentially lifesaving 3D mammography isn't equal, new research shows.

"This study was about whether adoption of this technology is equitable. We're showing that it has not been, even though it has been [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved for a decade now," said Dr. Christoph Lee. He is professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattl...

Compared to Other Countries, Americans Pay Much More for Prescription Drugs

Americans pay nearly three times more for prescription drugs than people in dozens of other countries, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed 2018 data and found that prescription drug prices in the United States average 2.5 times more than in 32 other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The cost of brand-name drugs is even more -- an average of 3...

1 in 5 Americans Has an STD: CDC

According to 2018 data, one in five people in the United States probably carries a sexually transmitted infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

On any given day in 2018, nearly 68 million people had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the new CDC report. There were 26 million new cases that year. The agency refers to these diseases -- such as HIV, sy...

Are Pricey Air Ambulance Rides Really Saving More Lives?

Air ambulance service is pricey, but promises lifesaving speed by providing rapid straight-line helicopter transport for critically ill patients.

But a new study out of Denmark questions whether that expensive haste winds up saving more lives.

Researchers found no statistically significant difference in the death rate between people transported by ground ambulance or helicopter, acc...

3 Steps Could Nearly Eliminate COVID Infections on College Campuses: Study

A combination of mask use, social distancing and routine testing would eliminate nearly all COVID-19 infections on U.S. college campuses, a new study claims.

Using a computer model that simulated a semester of a mid-sized college (5,000 students and 1,000 faculty), researchers assessed the effectiveness and cost of 24 combinations of four common preventive strategies: social distancing; m...

Many Americans Don't See Links Between Racism,  Health Outcomes: Poll

Many Americans most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic don't believe that racism is associated with poorer health, a nationwide poll shows.

The ongoing poll of more than 4,000 lower- and middle-income Americans focuses on communities of color.

"It really struck us that -- despite the virus's spread across the country to all types of communities -- there's not a consensus view on the ...

Crowdsourcing Raises Billions for Families Hit Hard by Medical Bills

You have probably seen the social media posts: Your good friend's co-worker is raising money online to help pay for cancer treatments or another friend needs funds to pay medical bills after a car crash.

Crowdsourced fundraising seems to, at least partly, fill a gap between out-of-pocket health care costs and what people can afford.

A new study looked at what the role of one of the ...

Moves, Evictions Often Trigger Harmful Breaks in Health Care: Study

Research brings grim findings for these economically tough times: People who must move because they can't make the rent often miss out on needed medical care.

The study, of over 146,000 California residents, found a connection between unaffordable housing and health care use: Of people who'd moved in the past five years because they couldn't afford the mortgage or rent, about 27% had skip...

As Testing Costs Rise, Neurology Patients May Skip Screening

Rising out-of-pocket costs for neurological tests could lead many Americans to forgo them, researchers warn.

Their study, published online Dec. 23 in the journal Neurology, analyzed neurology care costs for more than 3.7 million people in a large private insurance claims database.

They found that average, inflation-adjusted out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic tests rose by a...

Radiation Rx for Prostate Cancer Can Cause Financial Pain: Study

People diagnosed with cancer often have many concerns, including "financial toxicity," the hardship and stress associated with the cost of treatment.

New research found that for men with early-stage prostate cancer, choices about initial treatments can be a source of stress. And the cost is a big reason why.

"Cost of treatment and the associated financial burden could be an importan...

Relief for America's Unemployed Could Be Crucial for Health

Americans who lost their jobs this year due to the coronavirus pandemic have remained healthier and more secure thanks to expanded unemployment insurance, a new study reports.

Struggling folks who received benefits reported that they were less likely to go hungry, miss a rent or mortgage payment, delay needed medical care, or suffer from anxiety or depression, according to the findings.

Almost Half of Americans Worry About Surprise Medical Bills: Poll

Nearly half of Americans fear unexpected medical bills and 44% say they couldn't pay a $1,000 surprise bill, a new poll shows.

Those fears aren't unfounded. Among those with private health insurance, 68% have received unexpected medical bills and 33% couldn't pay them on time, while 23% said they haven't paid them yet.

Many Americans (81%) want Congress to pass laws to end surp...

Black Cancer Survivors Often Face Added Challenges: Study

Social and financial struggles are common among Black American cancer survivors and take a heavy toll on their health-related quality of life, according to a new study.

Health-related quality of life among cancer survivors -- how a person perceives their mental, physical and social well-being -- tends to be significantly lower among Black Americans than in other groups.

In this stud...

If Elected, Joe Biden Has Big Plans for Health Care

If Joe Biden becomes the next president, he would have clear and ambitious plans for the nation's health -- expanding the Affordable Care Act, empowering public health agencies to deal with COVID-19, and passing a stimulus bill that would support struggling doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.

The question is how much he'll be able to accomplish with a Senate that remains in the han...

Repeal of Obamacare Could Leave Young Cancer Patients in the Lurch

If Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is repealed, pediatric cancer patients could lose critical insurance coverage, a new study warns.

Kids with cancer often require intensive treatment and long-term follow-up to beat the disease. The ACA allows them to stay on their parents' insurance coverage to age 26 and bans exclusion of patients with preexisting conditions.

...

Insured Patients Are Getting Surprise Bills After Colonoscopies

Many Americans who get recommended colon cancer screening may end up with "surprise" medical bills, a new study suggests.

Looking at insurance claims for more than 1.1 million elective colonoscopies, researchers found that 12% involved out-of-network charges.

That's concerning, the study authors said, because those patients may well have faced bills averaging $400 for a...

Cancer Takes Heavy Toll on Women's Work and Finances: Study

Young women with cancer are at a high risk for employment and financial consequences, a new study finds.

"Our study addresses the burden of employment disruption and financial hardship among young women with cancer -- a group who may be at particular risk for poor financial outcomes after cancer given their age and gender," said researcher Clare Meernik, a fellow at the University of...

Alcohol-Linked Deaths Rise Sharply in Rural America

In rural America, drinking has become particularly deadly for many, a new government report shows.

Deaths related to alcohol use in those regions rose 43% between 2006 and 2018, health officials reported.

Over that time, the rate of deaths went from 11 per 100,000 people to 15 per 100,000. Also, the rate of deaths among women more than doubled, according to researchers ...

Obamacare Means 2 Million Fewer Americans Face Catastrophic Medical Bills Each Year

Since the passage of "Obamacare," fewer Americans are facing insurmountable medical bills -- but the benefit does not seem to be reaching people with private insurance, a new study shows.

Researchers found that after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, the number of Americans incurring "catastrophic" health care expenses each year dropped -- from 13.6 million in 2010 to 11....

Obamacare Cut Out-of-Pocket Costs, But Many Families Still Struggle: Study

High out-of-pocket health care costs for low- and middle-income Americans with kids have fallen due to "Obamacare," but more needs to be done to reduce their medical-related financial struggles, a new study claims.

The researchers examined data from 2000 to 2017 on more than 92,000 U.S. families with one or more children under 18 and one or more adult parents or guardians.

F...

Getting a Hip Replacement? Choice of Hospital Can Be Crucial

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on disparities in the U.S. health care system. But the issues are longstanding, and -- as one large study illustrates -- extend into a common elective surgery.

Researchers found that when hip replacement surgery is done at a "safety net" hospital designed to serve the poor and uninsured, patients' risks are higher. Of more than 500,000 Amer...

Companion Drug Might Help Prevent Kidney Complications of Lupus

Adding a newer drug to standard therapy might help control kidney complications caused by the autoimmune disease lupus, a new clinical trial suggests.

The researchers found that adding the drug, called belimumab, improved patients' likelihood of responding to treatment. That meant a reduction in protein in the urine -- a tell-tale sign of kidney inflammation -- and no significant loss...

Many MS Patients Struggle With Finances, Forgo Treatments

More than three-quarters of Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience financial difficulties that often prevent them from getting treatment, new research claims.

"Our study results demonstrate the high prevalence of financial toxicity for MS patients and the resulting decisions patients make that impact their health care and lifestyle," said study author Dr. Gelareh Sadigh, an...

Statins Going Generic Saved Medicare Billions

Here's evidence that prescription drugs don't have to cost a fortune: New research finds Medicare saved billions as more generic cholesterol-lowering medications became available, even though the number of Americans using the drugs increased.

"One of the most important contributors to our health care costs is expenditure on prescription drugs," said study author Dr. Ambarish Pandey, a...

Cost Puts HIV-Preventing PrEP Out of Reach for Many

The daily drug regimen known as PrEP is a nearly foolproof way to prevent HIV infection. But a new study suggests that many high-risk Americans may be giving the medication a pass because of cost.

The warning stems from a pricing analysis that tracked about 2.6 million PrEP prescriptions filled between 2014 and 2018.

The researchers found that during that time frame, PrEP pr...

Many Americans Struggling to Afford Health Care in Pandemic

More than two in five working-age U.S. adults didn't have stable health insurance in the first half of 2020, while more than one-third struggled with medical bills, according to a new survey.

"The survey shows a persistent vulnerability among U.S. working-age adults in their ability to afford coverage and health care. That vulnerability could worsen if the COVID-19 pandemic and relat...

Eating Disorders Cost Billions in the U.S.

Eating disorders -- such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge-eating disorder -- cost the U.S. economy nearly $65 billion in one recent year, a new report shows.

About 75% of that ($48.6 billion) was due to lost productivity, according to the researchers.

"Our study lays bare the devastating economic impact that eating disorders have in the United States, a country whe...

Pandemic Means Financial Hardship for Many With Diabetes

People with diabetes face a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19, but a new survey reports they have also suffered more economic fallout from the pandemic.

In June, 18% of people with diabetes were out of work compared to 12% of the general population. And one-third of people with diabetes have lost at least some income since the pandemic began versus about 2...

U.S. Women More Likely to Skip Meds Than Men, Study Finds

In the United States, many women with chronic medical conditions aren't filling prescriptions or are trying to make their medications last longer due to the cost, a new study finds.

Not filling prescriptions, skipping doses, delaying refills or splitting pills may put their health at risk, the study authors noted.

For the study, researchers collected data on patients in 11...

Pandemic Has Half of U.S. Hospitals Operating at a Loss: Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has America's hospitals on the fiscal ropes, with many facing financial ruin without continued aid from the federal government, a new report predicts.

Average hospital margins across the nation could sink to −7% in the second half of 2020 without further help, with half of all hospitals potentially operating in the red, the American Hospital Association...

Americans Lag Behind Brits When It Comes to Health

Health care in the United States is often touted as the best in the world, but Americans seem to be in worse health than their British peers, a new study shows.

Even the richest Americans in their 50s and early 60s had higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and mental health problems than their wealthy British counterparts.

Those who were in the top 10%...

How Insurance Plans Keep Black Patients From Cancer Care

Health insurance plans with high deductibles may be taking a financial toll on Black patients, according to a new study of cancer survivors.

The researchers said the findings point to yet another reason for racial health disparities in the United States: High deductibles may make it harder for Black patients, in particular, to afford medications or see a doctor.

"Just becaus...

COVID Drug Remdesivir Could Cost Up to $3,120 Per Patient, Maker Says

The maker of remdesivir, the first drug that showed promise in treating coronavirus infections, will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a patient with private insurance, the drug company announced Monday.

Because of how the U.S. health care system is designed and the discounts that government health care programs like the VA and Medicaid will expect, the price for private insurance comp...

High Costs Lead Millions of Americans to Shop Abroad for Rx Drugs

More than 2 million Americans buy prescription drugs from other countries as a way around rising prices in the United States, a new study finds.

The analysis of nationwide survey data showed that 1.5% of adults got their prescription meds from outside the United States between 2015 and 2017.

Immigrants and people who were older or who had inadequate health insurance cov...

Another COVID Plague: Big Surprise Medical Bills for Survivors

Seattle resident Michael Flor's heart nearly stopped when he received a $1.1 million dollar hospital bill for months of COVID-19 treatment.

The 181-page bill listed nearly 3,000 itemized charges -- and didn't include other items likely to make Flor's bill even higher, the 70-year-old told Time.

But one fact provided Flor some solace: Kaiser Permanente, the health care...

What Difference Do Calorie Counts on Menus Make?

Calorie labeling requirements for menus in U.S. restaurant chains could save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in health care and other costs, a new study claims.

Researchers created a model to assess what would happen if the labeling rule led to moderate calorie reductions among 1 million Americans, aged 35 to 80.

Between 2018, when the law went into effect...