This week, we bring you a deeper look inside the health insurance industry. The dark side of prescription drug coupons. A story about Pet Health Insurance, which is in its infancy, and how it is changing human behaviors—for example, if you have the pet health insurance, you bring your pet to the vet more often, and the vet makes more money and...well, you can see the parallels. And insurance company jargon, frighteningly decoded.
Prologue. Host Ira Glass describes the crazy world of medical billing, where armies of coders use several contradictory different systems of codes...and none of it makes us healthier. (5 minutes)
Act One. One Pill Two Pill, Red Pill Blue Pill.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt explains why prescription drug coupons could actually be increasing how much we pay, and prevent us from even telling how much drugs cost. (13 1/2 minutes)
Act Two. Let's Take Your Medical History.
Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson recount how four accidental steps led to enacting the very questionable system of employers paying for health care. (11 1/2 minutes)
Act Three. Insurance? Ruh Roh!
Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum investigates the growing popularity of pet
insurance, and what it reveals about insurance for people. (14 minutes )
Act Four. Sorry Johnny... It's Only Business.
This American Life producer Sarah Koenig reports on a very surprising reason why insurance companies dump members, and how this reasoning contradicts President Obama's argument for what will lower health care costs. (11 1/2 minutes)
Again, a very interesting program to follow up on last week's episode.
In Act IV, the interview with Uwe Reinhardt is very thought provoking. Specifically, he talks about the power of suppliers (i.e., hospitals) in the insurer-provider tug of war, and about Maryland's "All Payer System," which I will try to learn more about and pass along when I do...
MP3 of Part 2
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