Posts Tagged - ‘ct scan’

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When Health Insurers Pay For Overtreatment

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Image: Photos8.com

Overtreatment is commonly considered as health care services that are provided when they aren’t necessary. It has been criticized as one of the factors that made healthcare reform a serious priority.

For example, MRI scans are often performed on people with low risk. Since such tests aren’t completely accurate, some people have back surgeries that could’ve been avoided. Those individuals, whose conditions may have improved through other means, may then require more surgery in a decade.

Other examples abound, including the cumulative levels of radiation absorbed through a high number of CT scans–which is linked to increased risk of cancer. Affordable health insurance becomes harder to find due to this overspending. The worst part is that there have been few studies that determine which common procedures are needed and which ones could be scaled back without hurting health outcomes or creating fears of rationed care.

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More Medical Care Isn’t Always Better

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Image: Laughing Squid under CC 3.0

When it comes to holding down health insurance plan costs, it is generally agreed on that a main factor is the sheer amount of utilization of medical care. Innovations in technology have resulted in significant improvements in life expectancy, but many believe that there are times when health care services are overused.

Obviously, nobody wants to forgo screenings or treatment when it’s necessary. However, there are some times when they can do more harm than good. For example, the risk of radiation from repeated colonoscopies, mammograms and CT scans can add up, while doing relatively little to catch cancer early in most patients under a certain age. Some believe that lifetime exposure can even increase a person’s risk of cancer!

Why is medical care often overused? Patients often demand it, and doctors may take the path of least resistance. Physicians may also be worried about being sued for medical malpractice in the worst-case scenario; doctors are more likely to be sued if they are perceived to not have done enough. Also, doctors tend to be paid on a per-procedure basis, giving them an incentive to perform more tests and procedures. No matter what, the cost is paid for by your health insurer, and passed onto you through more expensive health insurance premiums.

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