I lost my group plan coverage when I was laid off from my job in spring of 2010. Since then, I have been on an individual plan, the only one I can afford. My new employer is a small business, and does not offer ANY benefits. My medical policy premium costs about $400 per month. Continue Reading
Better Consumer Information
Navigating the purchase and use of a health insurance policy could be a lot easier. What are your basic rights, and how should you decide between your available options? Read about changes and improvements you can expect in the coming years.
Consumers Union Documents
- Shopping for insurance after reform
How the exchanges would work, looking at the Massachusetts model.
- Letter to Washington: finish meaningful reform
Consumers Union joined the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the America Nurses Association and many others to ask Washington leadership to conclude its bipartisan summit with an agreement to move ahead with meaningful health care reform this year.
- What is government-run health care — and what isn’t
“Government-run health care” is an expression that has been used to inflame rather than inform. Discover what health programs are run by the government, and how they provide popular health care to millions of Americans
- Getting the best possible health insurance marketplace
In the absence of a public plan option, a robust national insurance exchange is the best way to force companies to compete on price and quality.
- CU President’s Letter to House Leadership
On January 6th, 2010, President Jim Guest asked Congressional leaders to make sure the final health reform bill is affordable for American families who will be required to purchase health coverage.
- More transparency needed in insurance marketplace
Standardized benefits and costs will help consumers make best insurance choices
- Will “Actuarial Value” standards make it easier to pick a plan?
Right now, insurance companies offer lots of plans, but it’s hard to know if your money is well spent.
- Our Prescription for Change
The limited reform efforts of the past 20 years have not succeeded in clamping down on soaring health care costs, stemming the number of uninsured or reducing unsafe care. We need not half steps but real change–a uniquely American solution based on the system we already have.
- Beware of myths generating fear about reform
Consumer Reports examines five things people fear about health reform.
- What’s broken?
Health care spending represents one fifth of our economy, yet by all accounts we are not getting good value for our money. Why?
- Medicare open enrollment begins Saturday, Oct. 15
Get prepared for open enrollment with Consumer Reports Guide to Medicare
- Early Consumer Testing of the Coverage Facts Label: A New Way of Comparing Health Insurance
The Coverage Facts Labels is a way for Americans to better understand the coverage offered by health plans.
- Consumer Reports Offers Free Guide to Medicare Changes, New Benefits
The guide will help people navigate the new changes and take advantage of services available under the law
- Consumers Union Urges Lawmakers to Reject Attempt to Cut Federal Funding for State-Based Health Exchanges
State based health exchanges provide competitive, consumer-centered marketplaces for purchasing health insurance
- CU offers guide to health reform options & benefits
On first anniversary, the guide offers information about the law and how it affects you and your family
- Senate proposal could mean fewer get insurance
CU urges Senate to fix provision of health reform law that burdens small businesses without penalizing families
- Health insurer spending standards help consumers
CU says new “medical loss ratio” standards from HHS will drive insurers to devote more on medical care
- Nonprofit BCBS Health Plans amass billions in surplus
Health insurers set aside billions of dollars in surplus – essentially retained profits – even as they raised premiums for consumers.
- CU applauds House passage of health care bill
The House passed health care legislation which will now move the Senate for a floor vote
- House health reform bill goes long way toward solving health care crisis, CU says
Consumer protections, more affordable and secure health coverage, cited in endorsement
- Ask for Your New Health Insurance Summary During Open Enrollment
November is the peak month for employers’ open enrollment for health insurance. You may have several plan options with your employer and you may have other options through your spouse’s employer. Perhaps you shop on your own in the individual market and its time to renew. How are you going to pick the best plan Continue Reading
- It’s about time! Easier Health Insurance Summaries
Another piece of the health reform law has fallen into place – new uniform, easy-to-use health insurance summaries that will help keep you from pulling your hair out over trying to understand your insurance policy. Available to over 170 million consumers with private health insurance coverage, this is the most far reaching reform to date. Continue Reading
- HHS preserves September start date for new easy-to-read insurance summaries
Late last week, the Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), the new, consumer friendly health insurance summary established by the Affordable Care Act. Consumers will see the SBC for the first time when they shop for Continue Reading
- New numbers are in: Health reform removed lifetime dollar limits on coverage for 105 million
In two weeks the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to decide if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. There’s no doubt the law has been controversial, and claims about “Obamacare” are flying again. In the two years since its enactment, though, evidence about the law’s actual effects has been building. As we’ve previously written, hundreds of Continue Reading
- Health reform law expands preventive care coverage for tens of millions in 2011
While some features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) don’t go into effect until 2014, other provisions of the 2010 law are already well-established. That means that despite our ongoing battles to hold insurance companies accountable, we’re beginning to see evidence of many of the health law’s benefits. For example, in September we reported that the Continue Reading
- Affordable Care Act is increasing coverage, study confirms
In September, we reported on a Census survey showing that the Affordable Care Act expanded health care access to over 500 thousand young adults in 2010 alone. Although some were skeptical of the data, it strongly suggested the increased coverage was the result of a provision requiring that insurers allow young adults to stay covered by their Continue Reading
- New disclosure requirement is wildly popular, not widely known
When we think of the holiday season, the ideal image is not curling up in front of the fireplace to read through our health insurance plans. In fact, one survey showed that we dread buying insurance more than paying our taxes or going to the gym. So it may not be a surprise that in Continue Reading
- Census report shows Affordable Care Act is working
A new report released by the Census Bureau showed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expanding health care coverage to more than 500,000 young adults in 2010, a number expected to continue rising. The full extent of the ACA’s coverage-expansion provisions, such as increasing Medicaid eligibility and offering subsidies and competitive insurance markets to Continue Reading
- Out-of-pocket caps will help put the brakes on higher health plan costs
A new study shows that average monthly premiums for people who purchase health insurance on their own range from a low of $136 per month in Alabama to a high of $437 per month in Massachusetts. But, as the study notes, these monthly premium figures don’t tell the whole story. Out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and Continue Reading
- Report: Coverage will expand dramatically; costs will not
One of the most common questions surrounding the new health reform law was whether it could expand health insurance coverage without breaking the bank. Fortunately, a new report from actuaries in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that it can. In fact, as economist and lead author Sean P. Keehan noted in Continue Reading
- Here is what the new health insurance labels will look like Source: The Consumerist (Thursday February 9, 2012)
“The new Summary of Benefits provides consumers with important insurance information in a standardized way for the first time,” said Lynn Quincy, senior policy analyst for Consumers union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. “This rule is a big step in helping consumers better understand and evaluate their insurance options.”
- Consumer groups fear White House may water down rule on user-friendly health plan summaries Source: Washington Post (Thursday January 26, 2012)
One of the most popular provisions of the health care reform law — consumer-friendly summaries of what your insurance plan covers — suddenly seems to be at risk.
- ‘Almost heaven’ meets ‘paradise’ — Virgin Islands and West Virginia discuss an exchange Source: Kaiser Health News (Monday January 9, 2012)
From economy to climate, they are as different as any two places in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped them from discussing whether to work together to form a health insurance exchange under the federal health care law, say officials in West Virginia and the Virgin Islands.
- Collaborative efforts can save money and improve care Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday January 5, 2012)
Physicians and hospitals share cost savings with the employers and insurers, and in some cases share losses if savings targets aren’t met. Medicare has launched a similar program under the 2010 health reform law aimed at developing so-called accountable care organizations.
- Millions of young adults getting coverage under new healthcare law Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday December 14, 2011)
The healthcare law signed by President Obama last year has now helped as many as 2.5 million young adults get health insurance over the last year despite the lagging economy, new data released by the federal government indicates.
- About 2.5 million young adults gain health insurance under U.S. overhaul Source: Bloomberg (Wednesday December 14, 2011)
About 2.5 million Americans under the age of 26 received medical insurance because of a rule in the health-care overhaul that allowed them to remain on their parents’ plans. The percentage of people ages 19 to 25 with insurance rose to 73 percent from 64 percent between September 2010 and June, according to the Atlanta-based Centers Continue Reading
- Health law's 'doughnut hole' fix saves recipients $1.5 billion Source: USA Today (Tuesday December 6, 2011)
The health reform law’s changes to Medicare have resulted in more than 2.65 million recipients saving on average $569-per-person on prescriptions, while premiums have remained stable. Another rule change has allowed more than 24 million to receive a free annual physical or other screening exam.
- American employers are using more insurance plans with high deductibles Source: Live Insurance News (Sunday November 27, 2011)
A new survey has shown that employers in the United States who are struggling to manage the increasing costs of healthcare insurance are broadening the use of plans with high deductibles to help to keep the monthly premiums at a more affordable level, since more of the burden of medical expenses is falling on the Continue Reading
- States cut mental health budgets as demand increases Source: Kaiser Health News (Thursday November 10, 2011)
More than half the states have cut their mental health budgets since the recession hit home, while the economic slump has pushed up demand for such services, according to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Low-income state workers begin to gain access to Children’s Health Insurance Program Source: The Washington Post (Sunday November 6, 2011)
At least six states have opened their Children’s Health Insurance Program to the kids of low-income state employees, an option that was prohibited until the passage of the 2010 health-care law.