Los Angeles Times

Consumer Confidential: Say what? How an $800 charge for hearing aids soared to a $3,600 healthcare bill

It's bad enough that U.S. healthcare prices are the highest in the world. That the healthcare industry routinely treats us as marks and suckers makes it infinitely worse.

San Juan Capistrano, Calif., resident Dennis Ettlin, 70, was shopping in the most recent Medicare open enrollment for a new Medicare Advantage plan that would cover his hearing aids. A state-of-the-art pair, he knew, could run thousands of dollars.

Ettlin came across an attractive offer: an Anthem Blue Cross plan that covered "up to $3,000 for hearing aids and supplies every year." The only catch was that the hearing aids had to be purchased from

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times2 min read
Lakers Win 13th In A Row On Road, Giving Heat First Home Loss
MIAMI - A team that just doesn't lose on the road traveled to face a team that just doesn't lose at home. On Friday night in Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers prevailed. They beat the Heat 113-110, handing the Miami its first home loss of the season. The
Los Angeles Times3 min read
Short-handed, Weary Clippers Lose To Bulls To End Road Trip
CHICAGO - As tipoff approached Saturday night, the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls found themselves in positions neither wanted to be in. After an 8:45 p.m. tipoff in Minneapolis the previous night, the Clippers arrived at their Chicago hotel
Los Angeles Times3 min read
Sam Farmer: Cowboys Might Not Be As Good As Their Bad Record
ARLINGTON, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys can't take away the football. Nor can they give away the football season. The NFC East is so lousy, the 6-7 Cowboys couldn't be irrelevant if they tried. Even though they have lost seven of their last 10 games, t