Medicare

My recent story about the high cost of new hepatitis C treatments focused on the difficulty of deciding who gets these new drugs now and who has to wait. That's because, while new drugs like Sovaldi and Harvoni (both made by Gilead) promise to cure a lot of people, they're so expensive we simply couldn't afford to treat everyone who's infected right now.

October 15 marks the start of open enrollment for anyone who wants to switch Medicare Advantage plans or join Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan.

November 15 is when open enrollment begins for HealthSource RI, the second time around for Rhode Island's online health insurance marketplace for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Here's what we know so far about the options.

RIPR FILE

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.,  has joined with fellow Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dick Durbin of Illinois in urging President Obama to use an executive order to reduce or get rid of tax breaks for companies that move their headquarters overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

In  letter to the president the three Democratic senators stated that while Congress considers a legislative solution there is a need for swift action by the president.

Aaron Read / RIPR

You may have gotten a letter in the mail recently from your health insurance company asking whether you wanted to opt out of something called an “all payer claims database.”

It's pretty basic: in order to save a little money, most people have to stick to a budget. But before you can sketch out that spending plan, you need to know where your money's been going and how much you've been spending on everything. Then you can look for places to trim and skimp.

So too goes the theory with health care spending. Or at least, that's the idea behind several new efforts:

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