Health Care Costs

Officials in Massachusetts launched a new effort this week to educate people about the cost of health care.  The prices charged by different hospitals, clinics, and physician practices for hundreds of common medical procedures are available online.  So, the idea is people in need of a new knee or an MRI can find the best deal.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the Massachusetts Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony.

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Massachusetts has awarded almost $2 million in grants to help train health care workers to improve service and cut costs.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced the grants to 51 organizations across the state to help them assess how to prepare workers for careers in the 21st century economy.


While Obamacare is being rolled out across the country Massachusetts, which pioneered the health care reform, is moving to the next step—cost containment.  A watchdog agency charged with monitoring health care delivery and payment reforms recently held two days of hearings to examine health care cost trends.  The state has set a cost growth benchmark at 3.6 percent for this year and next. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the chairman of the Health Policy Commission, Dr. Stuart Altman.

Mass. to see drop in medical claims costs

Mar 27, 2013
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Medical claims costs are expected to soar in many states under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Massachusetts is an exception.

A new study by the nation's leading group of financial risk analysts, the Society of Actuaries, has found that medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans' individual policies.

The report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

A group of health care advocates is urging the Legislature to create a special state subsidy when Vermont's subsidized health care program is shut down in 2014.

That's when the roughly 10,000 residents enrolled in Catamount Health will need to buy their coverage through a newly created market place exchange.

Peter Sterling of the Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security tells Vermont Public Radio he's concerned. He said the federal subsidies that will be available through the exchange are not as good as the existing Catamount coverage.