Impatient

Helping make the health care system work for you

Friday Favorites: High deductibles, adult vaccines, and a doctor shortage

If you have a high-deductible health plan, how has it affected your health care decisions?
If you have a high-deductible health plan, how has it affected your health care decisions? Bill Brooks via Flickr Creative Commons

It's a beautiful weekend for a trip to Joshua Tree National Park!

Joshua Tree, home to a vast desert and its otherworldly trees, is also where I fell and hit my head in January. I ended up getting three stitches in the emergency room – at a cost of at least $1,600. I'll pay that bill, and possibly many more, before I reach my deductible of $3,000.

Here's my story about high-deductible health plans, plus KPCC's other top consumer-focused health stories of the week:

Are high-deductible health plans keeping you from seeking care?

A 2012 study from the California HealthCare Foundation finds that consumers with high deductible plans spend less on care, which is how high deductibles are supposed to work. But the study finds that people are also cutting back "on preventive care such as immunizations and cancer screeenings - even though that care was not subject to a deductible."

Is that you or someone you know? If you have a high-deductible health plan, how has it affected your health care decisions? Are you shopping around for more affordable care? Are you forgoing visits or treatments, due to their cost? Tell us about it.

How best to respond to a predicted doctor shortage?

While we're scrambling to afford our care, others are trying to ensure there are enough doctors to provide that care.

KPCC health reporter Elizabeth Aguilera writes that while some argue that the cure to the anticipated doctor shortage lies primarily in training more doctors, others say there also needs to be an emphasis on giving other providers - such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants - the freedom to practice primary care on their own.

Adults need vaccines too, but many don't have them

There are a lot of reasons that many adults don't have the vaccines they need but, as far as I know, a shortage of doctors isn’t one of them – yet.

In this post – which I also discussed with Take Two Host Alex Cohen during our weekly Impatient radio segment – I outline the vaccines you should get as an adult and share a tip or two on how to afford them.

LA City Council approves curbside planting of fruits and vegetables

Maybe you have aspirations of eating your way to better health. Well, Angelenos, you're one step closer to being able to do that.

As community health reporter Adrian Florido tells us, the L.A. City Council has voted to let people plant fruits and vegetables on their parkways – that strip of city-owned land between the sidewalk and street – without a permit.

Sorry, fruit trees will still require a permit.

Which health stories are you reading and talking about this week? E-mail us at Impatient@scpr.org or ping me on Twitter at @rebeccaplevin.

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