Want better control over your health costs? Investigative journalism has finally come to healthcare, and it’s winning prizes bigtime.
My guest Jeanne Pinder is a former New York Times editor whose company Clear Health Costs has just won the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism, for their contribution to the “Cracking the Code” series in New Orleans.
The series also won the Society of Professional Journalists National Public Service Award, and was even a finalist for the ultimate – the Peabody Award, “the Pulitzer of broadcast.” Hear insane, funny, and infuriating health cost stories from Jeanne’s work, and learn how to educate yourself, fight back, and sometimes find better prices.
This is real investigative journalism. They had to dig dig dig when everyone said “We don’t know nuttin”; they got attacked in a memo from the CEO of one hospital they reported on (and of course the memo got leaked to them); and ultimately, a bill that had been stuck in the state house for ten years got unstuck and is now law. Hooray for transparency, hooray for digging out facts!
The money trail in American healthcare is deeply buried and hard to cut through. If you’ve ever been puzzled, annoyed, or ripped off by a medical bill, you’re not alone.
- Ask! “How much is this going to cost me?”
- Ask “What’s the cash price, if I bypass insurance?”
- Ask “Are there any other options?” (See my skin cancer story below)
Links from the episode
- The Clear Health Costs site
- The award-winning Cracking the Code series on their partners WVUE (Fox 8), led by investigative reporter Lee Zurik, and the Times-Picayune newspaper with reporter Jed Lipinski
- My posts on this site about the Cracking the Code series
More on health shopping
You know the term “explanation of benefits,” which supposedly explains what they charged and who’s paying how much of it? I’ve blogged for years about how this subject drives me up a wall: “Can’t the FCC force insurers to stop using ‘explanation’ on something nobody understands?”
Here’s my whole cost-cutting series, including:
- My skin cancer cost shopping marathon starts here
- The highlight of the series: I published an RFP (request for proposals)
- Later in the series you’ll find that I ended up saving 80-90% out of pocket, eventuallyl
- The insanity of understanding a bill
- See the 33 comments!
- Shopping for a CT scan
- This includes links to the independent radiology shop I mentioned, which posted their prices – but they’ve been acquired by a local hospital so the prices are no longer listed and they can’t tell you what it will cost.
- Trying to find out how much a shingles vaccine would cost
- The reality of health prices in America: “Chaos behind a veil of secrecy” (Yes, that’s what a top health economists said about US health prices)