Survey: Americans Spend More For Health Care Than People In Other Countries

The report from the International Federation of Health Plans found that Americans pay more for physician time, for scans, surgery and drugs than people in other countries. Also in the news, other reports from the health care marketplace explore the lack of insurance coverage for reproductive-age women and the growth in the number of companies that are offering incentives to their employees to better manage their health. 

National Journal: Survey Shows Americans Pay A Lot More For Health Care
Americans spend more than people in other countries on just about every medical procedure and doctor visit, according to a new report from the International Federation of Health Plans. The group's survey of expenses for medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments in nine countries shows that Americans pay more for physician time, for scans, surgery and drugs than people in Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Canada, India and Switzerland with one exception – cataract surgery costs more in Switzerland (Fox, 3/4).

Minnesota Public Radio: Study: Quarter Of Reproductive-Age Women Lack Access To Insurance
New research from the University of Minnesota suggests more reproductive-age women lack access to health insurance. The study, published Friday online in the journal Women's Health Issues, looked at national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey data from 2000 to 2009. It found that a quarter of more than 200,000 women ages 18 to 49 had gaps in their health insurance coverage in the past year, and the percentage of women with gaps in coverage increased over the decade (Dunbar, 3/2).

Boston Globe: Survey: Companies Are Offering Employees More Incentives To Get Healthy
More companies are offering incentives to their employees to better manage their health by taking such steps as getting flu shots or regular cholesterol screenings, according to a new survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. Companies in the survey said that the average annual value of the health-related incentives that they offered to an employee in 2011 was $460, up from $260 in 2009, said Fidelity, a Boston-based financial services company (Reidy, 3/2).

In related news - 

The Associated Press: Medical Bills Can Wreck Credit, Even When Paid Off
A growing number of Americans could encounter similar landmines when they refinance or take out a loan. The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that sponsors health care research, estimates that 22 million Americans were contacted by collection agencies for unpaid medical bills in 2005. That increased to 30 million Americans in 2010 (Johnson, 3/4).

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