Cost-control plan for health care could cost you

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
This April 11, 2014 file photo shows President Barack Obama, flanked by outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, and his nominee to replace her, current Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. There's a new health insurance term in the glossary, and it could mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket. It's a cost-control strategy called "reference pricing." It puts a hard dollar limit on what health plans pay for certain expensive procedures -- like knee and hip replacements. The Obama administration has given the go-ahead for insurers and employers to use the approach, setting aside some legal concerns. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

You just might want to pay attention to the latest health insurance jargon. It could mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket.

The Obama administration has given the go-ahead for a new cost-control strategy called "reference pricing." It lets insurers and employers put a dollar limit on what pay for some expensive procedures, such as knee and hip replacements.

Some experts worry that patients could be surprised with big medical bills they must pay themselves, undercutting financial protections in the new . That would happen if patients picked a more expensive hospital—even if it's part of the insurer's network.

The administration's decision affects most job-based plans as well as the new insurance exchanges.

Other experts say it will help check rising premiums.

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consumers losing doctors with new insurance plans

May 13, 2014

Some consumers are suffering buyer's remorse after realizing they bought insurance plans under the new health law and are now finding their longtime doctors and hospital networks aren't accepting those plans.

Report: Exchanges yield more specialty drug use

Apr 09, 2014

The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager says that patients from the health care overhaul's new insurance exchanges have been more likely to use expensive specialty drugs for chronic conditions.

Recommended for you

Study highlights concern for homeless seniors

2 hours ago

A new study for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, co-authored by researchers at the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, has found that a disproportionate number of people chronically staying ...

Mateship key to boosting resilient youth

2 hours ago

Having a supportive friend who is connected to their family and greater community can be the critical factor that protects and promotes resilience in vulnerable Aboriginal youth, according to research from ...

Here's to wine, chocolate and a long, healthy life

4 hours ago

Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, remains the oldest person on record. One might assume that she led a faultless, healthy lifestyle. Not at all. Every year on her birthday, as her celebri ...

Experts discuss communications gap on vaccines

5 hours ago

The number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children is on the rise, and with it the incidence of preventable diseases such as measles. The health community could reverse the trend by doing a better ...

User comments