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Health Highlights: Capping drug costs, crowdsourcing colonoscopy prices

Steven Depolo via Flickr Creative Commons

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, here are the top stories you should read about your money and your health. Plus, one important story you shouldn't miss.

Covered California votes to cap specialty drug costs for some

Covered California has become the first state health exchange in the nation to impose a cap on out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs. The action is intended to make expensive, life-saving drugs more affordable for people who buy insurance through the state exchange.
Beginning in 2016, people who purchase most Silver, Gold and Platinum plans through Covered California will pay up to $250 per specialty drug prescription per month. Consumers enrolled in Bronze plans, which have lower premiums, will pay up to $500 per prescription per month, after meeting a $500 pharmacy deductible.

The return of #PriceCheck: Share the cost of your colonoscopy

KPCC - with our friends at KQED - is re-launching #PriceCheck. Through this project, we're crowdsourcing the costs of certain medical procedures. First up: The colonoscopy. Grab your Explanation of Benefits and go here to share your costs!

In this blog post, I also offer some tips for consumers embarking on their colonoscopy journeys: While the Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover colorectal cancer screening tests, including colonoscopies, there can be hidden costs you should be aware of.

Knowing how doctors die may help patients at end of life

Dr. Ken Murray, a retired family practice physician, wrote an online essay in 2011, entitled "How Doctors Die." In it, he explains that doctors typically die at home, while the rest of us tend to die in hospitals. The article went viral.

KPCC health correspondent Stephanie O’Neill explains that many Americans might alter their approach to end-of-life care if they are aware that most doctors feel this way. Does this knowledge change how you perceive end-of-life care? Share your thoughts!

A push to end violence against transgender immigrants

Violence against transgender women, specifically transgender immigrants who are in the country illegally, is all too common, Adrian Florido reports. In response, he says, immigrant rights groups are beginning to raise awareness about the discrimination and abuse that gay and transgender immigrants often face.

I recommend listening to this story: Florido introduces us to Vivi Lozoya, an immigrant and transgender prostitute, who only recently began speaking out about the pain and danger she’s faced. KPCC visual journalist Maya Sugarman captured her story through photos, too.

Which consumer health stories are you reading this week? Tell me about it in the comments section below or find me on Twitter.