health care costs

Junk Food: The Pariah That's Replacing Tobacco

Forget cigarettes: The big public health boogyman now is obesity. The idea that our growing waistlines pose a hefty threat to our financial well-being is gaining momentum, and all signs point to this trend having a big impact on public opinion and public policy.

Retired Couples May Need $240,000 for Health Care

Couples retiring this year can expect their medical bills throughout retirement to cost 4 percent more than those who retired a year ago, according to an annual projection released Wednesday by Fidelity Investments.

Cigarette Warning Labels Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

New research shows that forcing smokers to look at scary warning labels doesn't make them less likely to buy cigarettes. In fact, it may make them more likely to. Are anti-tobacco advocates wasting their money and effort on a pointless campaign?

GOP Senators Unveil New Medicare Overhaul Plan

Two Republican senators unveiled a Medicare overhaul Thursday that features an accelerated transition to private health insurance for many seniors, a gradual increase in the eligibility age, and higher premiums for middle-class and upper-income retirees.

Beware of This Retirement Myth: 'You'll Spend Less'

There's a persistent assumption going around about what happens after one retires -- your spending shrinks. Sure, your house may be paid off by then, and you may be able to ditch some work-related expenses. But that's not the full picture.

High Health Care Costs Drag Down Economic Growth

Nearly everyone is feeling the pain of high health care costs. Between 2003 and 2010, the cost employers paid for family coverage rose 50% and employees' share of the tab increased 63%. That's money siphoned away from the rest of the economy.

Poor Sick People: U.S. Offers Raw Deal for the Unhealthy

If you're very sick and not very wealthy in America, your best move may be to flee the country -- because you'd be better off in any other first world nation. Otherwise, expect to pay through the nose and possibly wind up deep in debt, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund.

US Poverty at New High: 16 Percent, or 49.1M

A record number of Americans %u2014 49.1 million %u2014 are poor, based on a new census measure that for the first time takes into account rising medical costs and other expenses. The numbers released Monday are part of a first-ever supplemental poverty measure aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty.

Breast Cancer's Financial Toll: Your Money or Your Life

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women: 12% will develop it at some point in their lives, and at that point, the health battle begins. But those women often must fight one a second front as well, dealing with the multiple threats cancer poses to their financial well-being.

Economic Woes Are Jeopardizing Americans' Health

In this economy, people aren't just cutting out luxuries, nearly half of Americans are skimping on necessities like medication and doctor visits -- drastic actions that could be dangerous to their health.

Cutting Medicare Eligibility Would Cost U.S. Billions

Among the many ideas legislators in Washington have proposed for reducing federal spending is raising the age at which Americans qualify for Medicare benefits from 65 to 67. On the surface, that makes sense. But scratch the surface and the numbers show it to be an $11 billion blunder.

Finally! A Health Insurance Plan I Understand

Last month, new regulations were issued under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) requiring insurance companies to make choosing a plan simpler. Specifically, the new rules require insurers to publish forms providing "clear, consistent and comparable information" about the health-care plans they offer.

It's Time for a Mid-Year Financial Checkup

On New Year's Day, you had plans -- promises to get your finances in order in 2011. Today, check your financial pulse: Where do all those good intentions stand? Ask yourself tough questions then take action. The experts tell you where to begin.

The 10x Rule: Easy Math for an Easy Retirement?

Wouldn't it be great if you could plot your retirement with one simple mathematical equation? We're not there yet, but Lincoln Financial Group comes close. Their formula: Just save up 10 times your annual income for retirement. But does the 10x Rule really work?

Don't Let Medical Reimbursement Money Disappear

It's a guarantee in our health-care system: You may get better or you may not, but what you will get either way is paperwork: insurance claims, bills, receipts, and reams of forms that stand between you and the money you're owed. Recently, a new industry has sprung up to help you conquer the paper and recover your cash.

More Americans Turn to Acupuncture as Medical Costs Rise

year after President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, many Americans are still struggling to get their insurance to cover basic medical treatments. And now Americans are increasingly exploring less expensive alternatives to traditional Western medicine -- like acupuncture.

Public Employee Benefits: The Numbers Behind the Debate

Let's take the politics out of the debate over public sector unions and their benefits, and look strictly at the figures. When you strip away the rhetoric, you can chart two macroeconomic trends and two patterns of fiscally foolish assumptions that have put both states and unions into this mess.

Health Insurers Post Healthy Profits but Remain Cautious on 2011

The recent pushback on health care reform appears to have boosted the stock prices of health insurance companies, which have outperformed major indexes by quite a margin so far this year. That's because Americans have been cutting back on doctor visits, keeping reimbursement costs low.

The Autism Vaccine Fraud's High Cost to Society

The 1998 study linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been utterly debunked. So 13 years later, how many lives have been lost and how much money has been wasted treating the preventable illnesses that fear-mongering led to? Here are some answers.

America's Malady: A Bad Case of 'Baumol's Disease'

Unlike an illness caused by microscopic invaders of your body, which might raise your temperature and cause you physical aches and pains, Baumol's Cost Disease raises wages and causes some painful shifts in a nation's labor balance. Unfortunately, it's natural, and there's no miracle cure.

The Number of Americans With Diabetes Is Projected to Soar

As many as one-third of American adults could develop diabetes in the next 40 years, according to a new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007, and it's the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, according to the CDC report. The disease is also among the most expensive chronic illnesses to treat, and is considered one of the culprits in rising health care costs.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Medical Identity Theft

Everyone knows there are identity thieves who want to drain your bank accounts and siphon off your credit. But did you know there are scam artists out to steal your health benefits? So far, 1.5 million Americans have suffered from medical identity theft, at a cost of $29 billion.

World Drug Sales to Hit $880 Billion in 2011

Global pharmaceutical sales are expected to grow by 5% to 7% in 2011 to around $880 billion, thanks to robust growth in emerging markets, especially China, as well as new innovative treatments, and despite patent expirations and budget pressures in the developed world.