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Health Highlights: Consumers want price transparency, and some doctors do, too



David Goehring via Flickr Creative Commons

This week, most of KPCC's top consumer health stories are all about your money: How much you’re paying out of your own pocket for care, how much you’re paying for prescription drugs, and a new way to pay for health insurance.

Shopping for health care: These doctors commit to doing no (financial) harm

Over the past several weeks, I've been sharing tips on getting affordable health care.

A big takeaway: Patients need to talk with their doctors about costs and ask a lot of questions. (Listen to this Impatient segment on Take Two to find out how to start these conversations.)

This week's tips come from doctors, who say they and their colleagues also need to be prepared to have these conversations. They told me that if they know a patient is paying for care out of pocket, they could be more sensitive to costs when making health recommendations.

Americans rank cost and transparency as top health care priorities, survey says

A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation asked 1,500 Americans which health care issues they most want President Obama and Congress to focus on.

Reporter Adrian Florido says people's top priorities had to do with the high cost of care:

Do these reflect your priorities?

Californians can now pay cash for health insurance at 7-Eleven

Starting this week, people enrolled in L.A. Care Covered, a health plan offered through Covered California, can pay monthly premiums in cash at more than 680 locations, including 7-Eleven and Family Dollar Stores, Sarah Varney reports for NPR.

Why? Varney reports that one-quarter of Americans who were previously uninsured and eligible for federal insurance subsidies don't have a bank account, and rely instead on prepaid debit cards, money orders and cash to pay bills. 

Eye cancer detection advancing in SoCal

In case you missed it: This beautiful story from reporter Deepa Fernandes describes how a medical advance could make a difference for one family.

Fernandes describes how Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is using gene sequencing to screen for retinoblastoma, a common form of pediatric cancer that develops in the first 24 months of life. Her story illustrates how this advance could make a big difference for a 4-month-old baby with a 50 percent chance of having inherited the mutated gene that causes the cancer.

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