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Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the for-when-you-need-to-know-if-you-have-ebola-before-dinner dept.

Biotech 282

kkleiner writes "With the cost of healthcare services increasing, it's welcome news that a recent deal between Walgreens and Theranos will bring rapid, accurate, low-cost blood testing to the local pharmacy. A pinprick of blood from a finger is enough to run any number of a la carte diagnostic tests with results in four hours or less. The automation of blood testing in one convenient machine may mean that the demand for clinical technicians may decline, but the benefits of making blood analysis more accessible to everyone is enormous."

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282 comments

Obama official again lowers bar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467091)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/19/obama-official-again-lowers-bar-on-deadline-to-fix-website-saying-will-be/

"The Obama administration is lowering the bar again on the problem-plagued ObamaCare website, saying that it will be “greatly improved” by month’s end -- not fixed.

“The consumer experience will be greatly improved for the vast majority of users by November 30,” Henry Chao, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ deputy chief information officer, will tell House investigators on Tuesday, according to written testimony obtained by Fox News.

Chao’s testimony, 11 days before the fix deadline, appears to be the most recent case of the administration attempting to lower expectations, or at least prepare Americans for more problems when attempting to enter the site to purchase insurance policies that begin coverage January 1."

These rocket fucking scientists can't even build a website to spec, and you all are just A-OK with turning over all our healthcare decisions to them. Healthcare decisions that will affect us, our parents, our children, our lives.

We would be better off just fucking ignoring the whole doctor and science thing and just drinking Brawndo and HOPEing for the best.

You extremist Democrats have fucked us beyond belief.

Re: Obama official again lowers bar (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467243)

Wow, thanks so much for this insightful and completely topical post!

Re: Obama official again lowers bar (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467341)

At least I provided more information in my post than you did in yours. And you are certainly welcome.

Re: Obama official again lowers bar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467453)

Spam is certainly a form of "information", but it's nearly universally unwanted. Which sums up your bullshit neatly.

Re: Obama official again lowers bar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467517)

You may call it spam, I just have fun poking sticks at Obama supporters who are too cowardly and unable to justify their tyrannical Obamacare law that they have shoved down the throats of the people of this country,

You Obama drones fuck us with Obamacare and extremist socialism; my little posts are a small price to pay.

And I love the schadenfreude,

hemoglobin test (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467099)

I'm always a bit awed at the speed of the blood iron/hemoglobin pinprick test when I give blood. 15 seconds from pinprick to result. I guess that's the exception and not the rule where blood testing is concerned (something tells me the HIV/Hepatitis tests they run aren't nearly that fast), but it's still a neat little trick to marvel at.

Of course, that stupid little spring loaded thing freaks me out more than the 16 gauge IV they use for the actual donation, but that's probably a different conversation...... thank god I'm not diabetic.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467151)

Of course, that stupid little spring loaded thing freaks me out more than the 16 gauge IV they use for the actual donation, but that's probably a different conversation...... thank god I'm not diabetic.

Wouldn't you rather just be a sperm donor?

Re:hemoglobin test (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467221)

Not really. I've got this hang up about actually wanting to be a part of raising the children I'll (hopefully) one day father.

Besides, sperm donation doesn't exactly save lives, whereas blood donation does. Last Wednesday marked my 20th donation (2.5 gallons) and the second year in a row I managed to make six donations in a calendar year, the maximum allowed in the United States and Canada. Earlier in the year I even got a letter from the ARC saying that one of my donations had been transfused into two different patients somewhere out in Buffalo.

Do you know of a way to make that kind of a positive impact for less than an hour of your time?

Re:hemoglobin test (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467387)

Not killing the self-righteous?

Re:hemoglobin test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467423)

Do you know of a way to make that kind of a positive impact for less than an hour of your time?

Do you have any idea how much hospitals are charging patients for your hour's worth of time?

And yet ironically you probably bitch about paying taxes every year while these "donations" valued at thousands of dollars are unable to be written off.

I thank you and welcome your philanthropy. I just wish it carried over more to excite the rest of the human race to donate. Speak to their wallets, it likely would.

Then again, with casual sex being as mainstream as McDonalds, finding clean donors will become the real challenge.

Re:hemoglobin test (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 8 months ago | (#45467525)

Getting blood is one thing, storing, distributing, and inserting it is entirely another.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 8 months ago | (#45467691)

They like me at the blood center ( www.nybloodcenter.org ) because my blood is common (O+), and I am CMV- ( http://blog.inceptsaves.com/blog/2011/05/04/what-does-it-mean-to-have-cmv-negative-blood/ [inceptsaves.com] ), which allows me to donate platelets that help premature babies develop immune systems. Everyone who can should donate, the need is that great. Plus, you get free cookies!

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467703)

Then again, with casual sex being as mainstream as McDonalds, finding clean donors will become the real challenge.

Casual sex isn't the problem, that would be unprotected casual sex. As with everything else, it comes down to risk management, not risk avoidance. The Red Cross asks a whole bunch of questions about your sex life during the intake exam, but whether or not you engage in casual sex is not one of them.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467533)

Earlier in the year I even got a letter from the ARC saying that one of my donations had been transfused into two different patients somewhere out in Buffalo.

They got that kind of information on you?

Creepy!

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#45467557)

> Besides, sperm donation doesn't exactly save lives

Depends how you measure it. Subtracting the average number of lives before and after each donation, sperm is looking pretty good vs. blood.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467785)

This is the part of "statistics" that comes after "damned lies".

Re:hemoglobin test (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467581)

"Do you know of a way to make that kind of a positive impact for less than an hour of your time?"

Having a job writing software that millions+ people a day use?

Re:hemoglobin test (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45467189)

I'm not sure where this breathless PR piece is leading to. We've been using 'micro' samples in automatic lab analyzers for years. Just because you can get the results from Walgreen's doesn't change things.

I imagine that Walgreens is going to run only a few tests - cholesterol, pregnancy, HIV antibody. Tests where the FDA has approved patient education for point of care testing. I don't think you can order a whole lot more without 'practicing medicine' and for that you need some sort of license. Perhaps they will limit the testing to places where they have a mini clinic with a PA (physician's assistant) or NP (nurse practitioner).

Ordering tests without knowledge of some important things (like pretest probability / accuracy and sensitivity of the tests) is basically worthless.

But what the hell, it will make somebody some money. That's what counts.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45467203)

Oh, and you can, with a prescription from a health care provider, buy a bunch of cute little point of care testing devices already. Have been able to do this for years. Works great in the field. At Walgreens, again, not so sure how useful it's going to be.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#45467337)

The tests have been that quick, simple, and cheap to perform for years. It's just that now the patient can actually benefit from some of that instead of continuing to pay high prices for slow results while the lab (but never the lab tech!) makes a killing.

Re:hemoglobin test (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#45467573)

This is the main reason this is good. Just like giving flu shots at the pharmacy. Technology has advanced so much, at yet, in the medical field, prices have only skyrocketed, because there's strict limits on who can do what. If diabetics can give themselves their own insulin injections, there's no reason the average Joe shouldn't be able to give themselves a flu shot, or at least get one from somebody who doesn't cost as much to employ as a nurse. Same goes for simple blood tests. For many blood tests, there's very little reason to go to a specialized lab, so they can charge extravagant amounts of money for putting a drop of blood on a piece of paper and looking at what color it turns. We need to bring the cost of healthcare down, especially for routine procedures if we want people to be able to afford medical care in the future.

Re:hemoglobin test (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467607)

Diabetics take a course, and their immediate life depends on it, and they can' give diabetes to anyone else.

many would be given wrong, and they don't know what to look at to see if something went wrong.

Dr. Office don't really make any money from the Flu vaccines... or any vaccines. They often lose money.

Re:hemoglobin test (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#45467705)

Indeed. It's really a failure of the system that I can't go to "Bob's discount MRI and Bait Shop" for the "cheaper at 4AM" discount. There are only so many MRI machines in the world, so MRIs are far too expensive. Why aren't there more? Why are any of them idle at 4AM? A system that doesn't respond well to demand by increasing supply has issues.

And you see this all over healthcare. Sure, it takes a doctor to understand what test results mean in the context of patient care. But the tests themselves are just technology, and nothing brings cost down like the march of technological progress. Something's fundamentally broken when we're not seeing the cost of high-tech tests fall quickly over time.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467351)

I imagine that Walgreens is going to run only a few tests - cholesterol, pregnancy, HIV antibody

HIV can be a gray area in a lot of jurisdictions. New York treats HIV tests differently than other tests, with mandated reporting of positive results to the Department of Health, plus extra privacy protections such that they aren't allowed to disclose the results via phone or mail. I'm not sure how that would jive with a program like this, or frankly that there's a need for it, since you can get a free HIV test almost anywhere in the United States if you know where you go.

Re:hemoglobin test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467499)

What is really interesting is how the singularityhub has been a pusher of breathless PR pieces for a while now...

Re:hemoglobin test (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 8 months ago | (#45467521)

Uh, they have a licensed pharmacist right there to analyze the results, in the rest of the world a pharmacist can basically do everything an NP can do because they have to know medicine and pharmacology to do their job.

Re:hemoglobin test (4, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about 8 months ago | (#45467551)

I imagine that Walgreens is going to run only a few tests - cholesterol, pregnancy, HIV antibody.

Well, it looks like a few more than that:
http://www.theranos.com/test-menu?ref=our_solution [theranos.com]

I didn't bother to count; maybe 200 in that list? Heavily tilted towards drug detection and STDs, but still a pretty good variety.

Why would I make an appointment with my doctor for 4 weeks from now, drive over, get a referral to a testing center, drive over, get stuck and drained, drive home, make another appointment for 4 weeks to get the results, drive over, and have someone read me results with no background info, when I could go to Walgreens, walk out with the results 10 minutes later, and spend 20 minutes on Google finding out what they really mean?

I would say that the fact that I can get results from Walgreens changes everything.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467621)

"and spend 20 minutes on Google finding out what they really mean?"
that why. You do not have the knowledge to do that, and the fact you think how they mean to you can be sussed out via google is laughable.

However, I don't see why you could take the results to your Dr.

Re:hemoglobin test (2)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about 8 months ago | (#45467751)

The last time I took a blood test to my GP (ordered by my dermatologist) she said "Hmm, I don't normally order that test. Let me go look it up and see what these results mean". The five minutes that she took to do the research, and the three minutes she took to explain it to me, were insufficient; five minutes more on my own with Google after the appointment gave me a much greater understanding of the result, the meaning, and the next steps.

So, yes, I do have the knowledge to do that. And the wisdom to get my results from the NIH, Scripps, Harvard, etc. medical websites rather than someplace frequented by watchers of Oprah and followers of Jenny McCarthy.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#45467755)

Chances are you only need the doctor to clue you in once. Take cholesterol - there's little the numbers alone can tell you, unless they're extreme, but you doctor can tell you, for you specifically, what you should care about. Having done that once, you should be good for years with a test at Walgreens. I suspect this is true of all the tests they will offer.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

symes (835608) | about 8 months ago | (#45467223)

The good thing here is that it brings patient closer to the test - when blood travels long distances you begin to see greater variation in the end results. So it is not just about speed, if this little machine gets it right it may also improve accuracy. There is a flip side in that there probably will not be a trained clinician there to interpret and explain the results. Some people (you know who you are) might get all worked up over a slight deviation that is still within normal limits and can be easily dealt with through a modest behavioral change.

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 8 months ago | (#45467257)

something tells me the HIV/Hepatitis tests they run aren't nearly that fast

There are some HIV and Syphilis tests that are that fast... just not as reliable. The idea is that they are biased towards false positives, so if it shows negative, you can trust it, and if it is positive, you follow up with a traditional test to confirm.

(They administer such tests at some gay events, and people get to see their results literally within minutes)

Re:hemoglobin test (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467469)

There must be a reason why such testing hasn't made its way to the local blood drive.... I'm guessing accuracy and/or cost? They have to collect an entire donation, ship it off to a processing center, then throw it away when it comes back HIV positive, plus track the donor down to inform them....

Do those tests have the same detection window as the lab tests? Maybe that's what's holding them back?

Re:hemoglobin test (2)

Stargoat (658863) | about 8 months ago | (#45467537)

That's funny. Pheasants also freak out at my 16 gauge.

Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467121)

And just how accurate are these cheap, quick tests going to be?

Re:Accuracy (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 8 months ago | (#45467185)

once your friendly insurance company gets ahold of it, it'll cost $650. Affordable, by their standards.

Re:Accuracy (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#45467753)

once your friendly insurance company gets ahold of it, it'll cost $650.

That makes no sense. The insurance companies have an interest in lower medical costs. If anyone opposes this, it will be the AMA, or other association of doctors. It was doctors that opposed, and tried to ban, home pregnancy tests, mail-in DNA tests, etc.

Re:Accuracy (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467193)

I'm sure it depends on the test, but my guess is pretty accurate. I was going to throw in some citations with some actual figures, but without specific tests / brand names, all I can tell you is that tests based on microfluidics are being billed as "fast and accurate."

And your DNA is stored for how long? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467163)

If this comes about, how long will it take for law enforcement to demand ongoing, continual access to all blood samples received by every pharmacy everywhere? To fight terrorism, of course. Or child porn. Or, umm, copyright infringement? Doesn't matter, they'll come up with some good reason.

Re:And your DNA is stored for how long? (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467239)

There are far easier--and less obvious--ways of getting someone's DNA.

OW! (1)

paiute (550198) | about 8 months ago | (#45467175)

A pinprick of blood from a finger

Why does the blood always have to come from a finger? That's where all the nerves are. Why can't you get the drop of blood from your elbow or some other place?

Re:OW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467245)

Probably because the finger is easier to administer to than an elbow since it protrudes and is easy to squeeze. The needles they use if I remember correctly (been a while since I donated) were kind of flat so they'd capture the first drop of blood to come out, I think those types of needles are probably harder to use on an area like the elbow.

Re:OW! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467269)

The trick that I've found is to get the pinprick on the side of your finger. Makes it a lot more tolerable. Most of the people administering these tests realize that, though you're always apt to run into one that insists on doing it square in the middle of a pad for whatever reason. I'll usually just grin and bear that, though the one lady that failed to find a capillary (what were the odds of that?) and drew no blood managed to annoy me enough to protest her second attempt in the same location.

Re:OW! (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#45467435)

Absolutely! I'm Type II, and I check my blood sugar twice a day, always using the side of a finger. Sometimes, when I'm getting my vitals taken at the doctor, they want/need to check again, and I always make sure that they don't use the pad or, in some ways worse, the fingertip. (Try typing within several hours of having blood taken from your fingertip, and you'll know why.) In one case, I actually had to demand to speak to a supervisor after an arrogant tech insisted that he knew better than I did about where to take the blood. He ended up getting chewed out, doing things the way I wanted and apologizing (probably the worst punishment) for not listening to me.

Re:OW! (4, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 8 months ago | (#45467465)

Blood from the tip of your penis is actually the best blood to use for tests. If you complain about it you're just a problem patient.

Re:OW! (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 8 months ago | (#45467699)

Well, as long as the nurse is pretty and she makes certain to achieve maximum blood pressure at the sight in question....sure.

Re:OW! (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45467479)

Those of us that work for a living have callouses that make it pretty much not hurt at all.

Re:OW! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#45467511)

Lots of capilaries just beneath the surface, rapid healing, no scar.

Just like the new cancer test (4, Insightful)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 8 months ago | (#45467179)

that the winner of the international science fair came up with...detected Lung, Pancreatic and one other type of cancer using a carbon nanotube and a handful of parts he picked up at Home Depot. Cost of the test? About $0.04 and highly accurate.

What will it cost after it's commercialized? We'll see.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (4, Informative)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467225)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's study used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (4, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 8 months ago | (#45467377)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's studys used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

FTFY. Preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 at a minimum

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467409)

Indeed, thank you.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467667)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's studies used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

FTFY. Preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 at a minimum

FTFY

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

game kid (805301) | about 8 months ago | (#45467477)

The ads for the test, to be aired at primetime and targeted at people who won't even have a choice in the matter (let alone the knowledge to judge whether this is "right for you"), will push the costs up further.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467489)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's study used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

So, from the rough cost of four cents, please let me know what the "reasonable and customary" cost will become after those involved make up some bullshit claim about how their "internal" costs were sky high (to cover all the executive bonuses), forcing them to charge insurance companies $200 per test.

And even with that insane markup, I'm probably low-balling that estimate.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#45467495)

The cost-per-test, or marginal cost, is impacted neither by the pharmaceutical company's study used to verify the accuracy of the test nor the FDA approval.
These costs are fixed costs, not marginal costs. That is, these costs do not change dependent on the number of test kits produced.
So technically, no, they don't push the cost-per-test up quite a bit. The company's desire to turn a profit is what pushes up the cost-per-test.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467553)

Cost-per-test = cost / tests = (FC + MC*tests) / tests = FC/tests + MC.

If the fixed costs are large enough, they impact the cost-per-test.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#45467779)

In economics and finance, marginal cost [wikipedia.org] is the change in the total cost that arises when the quantity produced has an increment by unity.

Are you arguing that per-unit costs are in fact average total costs, not marginal costs? That's quite the redefinition of terms...

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#45467503)

You mean the study that's funded almost entirely with Federal grants? :-p

Re:Just like the new cancer test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467613)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's study used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

Yes, that is true in a simplified-talk radio-media-TV-retard point of view. But the pharmaceutical company will then do some creative accounting/Hollywood accounting to justify charging the insurance companies 100X what is necessary.

Or to put it another way, for insurance purposes, I can PROVE that a glass a lemonade should be billed at $110 to your insurance company - all GAAP and IRS approved.

I'm the accountant that says "whatever you want it to be" when asked what is "2+2"?

Our medical industry in the US is just obscene and there is NO excuse. Other countries can give BETTER care for less. And yet, the industry gives us this BS about quality and even more insulting - "the cost of litigation". Nonsense. Complete nonsense. When you get fucked over by the medial system - you stay fucked.

Bah! Never mind, my pearls are for better pigs.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 8 months ago | (#45467375)

Anyone seen a decent accuracy study for that test? Even if it detects cancer 100% of the time, that is useless if the FA rate is 99%.

Re:Just like the new cancer test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467611)

Exactly. I can build a cancer detector that detects cancer 100% of the time by putting a piece of paper that says "yes" in a bag. To administer the test, you simply reach into the bag and pull out the result!

Re:Just like the new cancer test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467393)

What will it cost after it's commercialized? We'll see.

More. [irs.gov]
A lot more. [wikipedia.org]

But will patients actually get to see the savings. (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 8 months ago | (#45467183)

If you need a blood test the doctor/hospital will likely take the blood perform test and charge accordingly leaving the patient out of the loop entirely. If this test does actually force a lower reimbursement rate, they will specify checking for conditions not covered by the test so a more expensive one has to be done

Re:But will patients actually get to see the savin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467373)

You're assuming the patients will be allowed to take the test in the first place. The last time someone tried this, the ATF (yes, WTF do blood tests have to do with alcohol, tobacco, or firearms?) beat the fuck out of the two medical students who were trying to help people. The AMA will make sure people die if they try to compete with the medical cartel like this.

How much will it cost? (0)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 8 months ago | (#45467219)

Since my health plan went Obamacare compliant and a doctor visit went from $25 copay to a $6000 deductible, now I get a separate bill from the lab company every time my wife or kids go to the doctor. Seriously - I just call Solstas Lab Partners every month and ask how much I owe because there are so many bills.

In house testing or at the local pharmacy would be great.

(Yeah, mod me Troll, but it's still true.)

Re:How much will it cost? (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467265)

It was your choice to sign up for a plan with a $6000 deductible, and I'd imagine it's quite a bit less expensive than your old plan. If not, pony up some details. We don't need your name and Social Security number to verify what you're paying for a plan under the new healthcare exchanges.

Re:How much will it cost? (2, Interesting)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 8 months ago | (#45467459)

My choice? Let them eat cake, I guess.

My premiums went up another $250/month. Deductible went from $500 to $6000, with 65% coinsurance to $9000. No prescription drug coverage. A lot of people reading this got the same news this year. Or will.

My son's birth two years ago cost me $500. Baby #2 is due this year and it's going to cost me $9000.

Re:How much will it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467593)

Why didn't you get the gold plan?

Re:How much will it cost? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467633)

I doubt it. Sounds like a lie, or some other change happened your not talking about.

Re:How much will it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467711)

Wow, wtf? My insurance rates only went up $10/paycheck. The only changes is now instead of paying a co-pay of $30 per doctor visit, they cover the first two visits 100% plus 100% coverage of your yearly all per person, then any visit after those is out of pocket. All co-pays now counts towards my $1500 deductible. Fair trade.

I wonder if they still cover 10 Viagra 100% per month. Not that I need it :-)

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467531)

If not, pony up some details.

Stories abound of people who have lost under the ACA, some of whom have lost big. You don't need some random /. member to tell you his story when similar stories have aired on every major news network for the last few weeks. Here's one from PBS [pbs.org] , a relatively unbiased source that few would claim was rooting for the failure of the ACA.

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467701)

It's about getting everyone insured. Yes some people are paying more.

OTOH, under her old plan, if somethign difficult came up, they could(and probably would) cut her plan. Now they can't do that.

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467773)

Now they can't do that.

Stop boiling this issue down to talking points, it does both sides a disservice. In fact, a talking point ("If you like your health insurance you can keep it.") is precisely the reason why our fearless leader finds himself with a 39% approval rating.

There were a multitude of ways to get everybody insured that didn't require a 2,000 page Rube Goldberg piece of legislation. The goal of universal coverage is laudable. The ACA is anything but, and, incidentally, will still leave millions of people without insurance. For 2,000 pages and trillions of dollars I really had hoped for more than just nibbling around the edge of the problem.

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#45467777)

If not, pony up some details.

Stories abound of people who have lost under the ACA, some of whom have lost big. You don't need some random /. member to tell you his story when similar stories have aired on every major news network for the last few weeks. Here's one from PBS [pbs.org] , a relatively unbiased source that few would claim was rooting for the failure of the ACA.

And there are plenty MORE stories about people getting screwed by insurance companies BEFORE the ACA. Even with the ACA, it's still the insurance companies screwing you.

Okay, /. loves car analogies, so here's one. Let's say in the near future the technology for self-driving cars is well enough refined for the mass market. Now let's say failures in the automatic driving system will cause 1,000 deaths per year from traffic accidents, but the automatic driving system will save 10,000 deaths per year. Should we implement the system in order to save a net of 9,000 deaths per year, or should we deny it because it'll cause 1,000 deaths per year?

Re:How much will it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467331)

"Since my health plan went Obamacare compliant and a doctor visit went from $25 copay to a $6000 deductible, now I get a separate bill from the lab company every time my wife or kids go to the doctor. Seriously - I just call Solstas Lab Partners every month and ask how much I owe because there are so many bills."

I live in Europe and my lab technician comes to my home to take blood samples at 6:30, so that I don't have to walk out of the house without breakfast. (Or at any other hour if you work other times or not at all.)
I get the result at around 12am per email or the next day via snailmail.

At it doesn't cost a dime no matter what the test is.

Re:How much will it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467473)

At it doesn't cost a dime no matter what the test is.

Nothing's free.

Re:How much will it cost? (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45467475)

I live in Europe...

And, apparently, had Sarah Palin as a Geography teacher.

Re:How much will it cost? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467725)

Apparently you had Sarah Palin as a reading comprehension teacher.

He is comparing the American health care system with the European health care system.
Which is far superior by every measure.

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467795)

I live in Europe and my lab technician comes to my home to take blood samples at 6:30, so that I don't have to walk out of the house without breakfast. (Or at any other hour if you work other times or not at all.)
I get the result at around 12am per email or the next day via snailmail.

At it doesn't cost a dime no matter what the test is.

As someone else living in Europe that is paying through taxes for this "doesn't cost a dime" service of yours, can I just say... you're welcome.

Isn't it lovely living in a civilized place?

Re:How much will it cost? (2)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 8 months ago | (#45467371)

Well, the Affordable Healthcare Act insurance plans aren't effective until Jan 1, 2014. And there's nothing in the AHA that prevents a policy from having a cheap co-pay. You're either a troll or you blame the AHA for your insurance company using the AHA as an excuse to put the screws to you.

Re:How much will it cost? (-1, Troll)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 8 months ago | (#45467497)

That's right. "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

Lol.

Re:How much will it cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467555)

What you are saying doesn't make sense to me, for two reasons:
1. Under my obamacare compliant plan, on lab services besides "major imaging", the deductible is waived, and I only pay the coinsurance cost share percentage.
2. With a 6k deductible, your cost share might be 40%, so you would need to be using 15k of lab services. If that is the case, why aren't you signed up for the gold plan? Get the 2k deductible, and you will probably only need to pay 20%, like me, and the difference easily pays for the gold plan.

What state do you live in? I am in WA, and everything is running smoothly here. I had a lot of help finding the right plan.

Where to effectively use this.. (2)

lionchild (581331) | about 8 months ago | (#45467247)

I think I'd like to see this in my doctors office. They could employ someone to take care of that, make blood work more quick for diagnostics, and patients wouldn't have to go to yet somewhere else for blood work, then everyone waits for results. I could be wrong, but it feels like this is something a doctors office might be more well invested in for the patient. And if the cost is low enough, then perhaps it's a service they add on regularly so as to insure there's not something cropping up that goes undiagnosed between visits...since we all know that particularly men don't want to go to the doctor unless something is really wrong.

But, it goes back to doctors being more invested in patients and their positive health and less about getting as many people through the door as possible in a day. However, that's probably a whole different discussion.

Re:Where to effectively use this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467741)

I'd like to see this as a vending machine in my local McDonalds.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467279)

Might be my european background but: Where I live the general population is not savvy enough to be left alone with a printout of Hb, Hk, MCV, MCHC, Ferritin, Transferrin, ASAT, ALAT, ... AFP, CEA-19, PSA... god forbid! The test alone is meaningless without interpretation -- that's something only qualified staff can and should do and it should be explained to the patient in a one-on-one conversation.

Re:Huh? (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467449)

I know how to interpret my LDL and HDL levels. Most people understand what it means to be "positive" for HIV or Hepatitis. The last blood panel I had included a whole column of "acceptable" ranges. I think the idea here is either that your doctor orders the blood panel and gets you the results that day (rather than a week later) or that you take the test and then say, "Oop. Time to see the doctor." Or it's for chronic conditions (like high cholesterol) where self-monitoring is entirely possible.

Re:Huh? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#45467771)

" "positive" for HIV or Hepatitis"
so what does that mean?

if you answer was anything other than ' take a second test' you fail.

And of course a significant portion of people will never report or followup when they have an STD. They will infect others, and they will apply 'pop culture' 'treatments' to serious diseases.

I look forward to people beating themselves with bushes to cure aids, and using prayer to protect others from getting infected~

Accuracy of Theranos Tests (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#45467333)

Someone asked, here's the answer: a whole lot better than the labwork you get now. [wsj.com] Example: HDL tests are allowed to have a 30% margin of error. Theranos' tests are accurate to within 10%.

This will be a great for detecting illness sooner. (1)

See Attached (1269764) | about 8 months ago | (#45467361)

This will save money, and improve healthcare outcomes. No upside to waiting 3 days for test results. Next stop - subdermal monitors!

This fainter is very happy (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | about 8 months ago | (#45467405)

As someone who frequently faints or comes extremely close while having blood drawn, I am extremely excited about this tech. I hate getting blood drawn so much that I have a tendency to avoid scheduling routine physicals, which I know is not smart since yearly physicals are so crucial to spotting trouble before things get too bad. I don't just hate passing out (or nearly), but I hate needles in general, so having that needle stuck in my arm for the duration of the draw (or the frequent misses and retries) along with the whole losing consciousness is torture for me. Finger-prick was never a problem for me, though. I imagine I'm not alone, so if this means more people doing some preventative maintenance, then it likely also means less emergency room visits and major procedures resulting from ignored or uncaught conditions that would have otherwise been easily treated.

I just hope that my insurance will accept this method. I just got a letter in the mail from them the other day reminding me that they do not work with all labs.

Re:This fainter is very happy (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 8 months ago | (#45467569)

I'm in a similar boat. I thought it was seeing the flood of blood that is taken for routine bloodwork that made me white out, but getting a vaccine booster shot resulted in similar symptoms. Over the years, I found needlework more bearable if I:
a) look away. seriously.
b) think about something else. other body parts, other things entirely. and think hard!
c) inform the technician ahead of time, and lay down for the duration of the needling. most techs are very accomodating.

At the doctor's I always bring up, half in jest, that it's ridiculous how much blood they need. On TV they can sequence someone's entire genome from a single red blood cell. In medical research they can watch individual neurons firing in realtime with fMRI. But to determine if my excessive butter consumption is fucking up my HDL:LDL ratio, they need a bucket of fresh blood? This development couldn't be more appealing to me.

That being said, good luck with those damn blood thieves. I swear they only need a drop of that blood for testing and then they sell the rest on the black market.

advice from a former fainter (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 months ago | (#45467627)

Find a lab that will let you lay down while they do the draw. You faint during the draw because of a drop in blood pressure, lying down will ensure that more blood remains in the brain when this happens, which will prevent (or at least postpone) fainting. Get a few successful draws under your belt and you might find that you don't have to keep laying down, since your body will have moved past the negative association.

YMMV, but it worked for me, I used to have the exact same problem and managed to conquer it to the point of becoming a regular blood donor. I could tell you some real good stories about passing out in hospitals though. :)

affordable you say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467437)

if it's like the Affordable Care Act then it means you'll be forced pay twice as much for a bunch of tests you don't need!

Funding by: (2)

jafac (1449) | about 8 months ago | (#45467467)

So - don't forget to check the box at the bottom of the form saying that you agree to their privacy policy. (whereby, your blood will give them a DNA sequence that they can sell as marketing information - which funds the tests. And the CEO's retirement plan).

luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45467565)

may mean that the demand for clinical technicians may decline, but the benefits of making blood analysis more accessible to everyone is enormous

Every invention makes a few jobs obsolete but opens up many more.

With it being easier and cheaper there'll be more demand. That'll mean more tests. So the technicians will have as much work as before. With more results that opens up the opportunity for more jobs elsewhere dealing with the results, and big data analysis of results.

Re:luddites (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#45467641)

If tests are easier to get and use, I can see going in fairly often just to make sure a diet is working or that an exercise regimen is actually taking care of stuff. Plus, it might be useful checking if one has cold or flu, and treating it accordingly.

So how much does a blood test cost in the US? (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | about 8 months ago | (#45467719)

I used to look after the local Lab Management System for a medical lab here in New Zealand.

Here blood tests are pretty much free when ordered by a doctor - IIRC the ministry of health gives the tester around $5 for the simple tests... if you walked off the street they might charge you $US15 for doing the paperwork.

The results were ready in a few hours, and then an EDI-style clearing house is used to deliver the results back into the doctor's patient management system, so a four hour turn-around was not unheard of (as long as the sample was taken at the lab and not the doctor's surgery).

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