Better Insurance Value
Health insurance costs a lot. What drives that cost, and who gets all that money? New requirements make sure more of your insurance dollar is spent on care, but that’s not the only cost driver.
Consumers Union Documents
- Customer Service Principles and Performance Standards for Exchange Call Centers
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) commits to giving consumers applying for affordable health coverage a seamless, top-flight experience. Turning that lofty goal into reality will require performance standards to assure the expectation is met. In some instances, for example, consumers calling an Exchange (Federally Facilitated Exchange also known as an “FFE”, or a state Exchange) Continue Reading
- Health Reform’s ‘Value for Your Dollar’ Rule: Early Impact in Arizona
CU reviewed 2011 MLR results for Arizona insurance companies in the individual and small group markets.
- Health Reform’s ‘Value for Your Dollar’ Rule: Early Impact in Missouri
CU reviewed 2011 MLR results for Missouri insurance companies in the individual and small group markets.
- Health Reform’s ‘Value for Your Dollar’ Rule: Early Impact in Florida (html)
The MLR rule went into effect on January 1, 2011. The first round of rebates must be paid by August 1, 2012, and will be based on insurers’ 2011 spending. Rebates may be in the form of refund checks or a credit toward future premiums. CU examined rebate estimates for the top Florida insurers covering Continue Reading
- Health Reform: Holding Insurance Companies Accountable, Getting A Better Deal On Your Coverage
The spiraling cost of health insurance is a huge concern for hardworking Americans and businesses, and the new national health reform law includes a key provision to make sure you get better value for your insurance dollars.
- CU Testimony To Texas House on Recent Changes to the Health Care System Created by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act
Texans lack the protections afforded in many other states from unfair rate hikes and low value coverage.
- CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: Grandfathering Regulations and Medical Loss Ratio Requirements In the Affordable Care Act
Comment on the proposed legislation which would repeal consumer protections.
- BRIEF: Mini-med Health Plans: Don’t Call It Insurance
Mini-med health plans have garnered attention recently because their benefit levels don’t conform to new requirements being phased-in that all health plans provide coverage up to certain levels.
- Preventive Services Covered Under the Affordable Care Act
If you have a new health insurance plan or insurance policy beginning on or after September 23, 2010, the following preventive services must be covered without your having to pay a copayment or co-insurance or meet your deductible.
- The Affordable Care Act: The First Year
Discover What the New Law Means for You and Your Family
- Covered California announces health plans, proposed rates
Health insurance exchange offers plans eligible for subsidies, enables Californians to make smart choices
- Consumers Union Praises Proposed Essential Health Benefits Rules
But warns regulators about giving insurers too much flexibility when it comes to benefit substitutions
- Consumers Union Launches Effort to Scrutinize Health Insurance Hikes in California
Contract award from California DMHC to Consumers Union aims to educate public and slow rapid rise of health insurance premiums
- Texas Health Insurance Companies Dropping Rates to Comply with Healthcare Law
April 3, 2012 Texas Health Insurance Companies Dropping Rates to Comply with Healthcare Law According to recently released information from the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), several health insurance providers, including that state’s largest insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, are dropping health insurance rates ahead of new Medical Loss Ratio rules that will soon force Continue Reading
- HHS denies WI request to delay insurance reform
HHS action protects $13 million in health insurance rebates for Wisconsin
- Bill to Bolster Insurance Companies Harms Consumers
The bill erodes tool for reigning in insurance companies and fighting rising costs
- Groups applaud federal rejection of Texas effort to delay health reform consumer protection
The decision is a victory for Texas consumers who buy insurance on their own
- NAIC shifts stance on medical loss ratio
Nat’l Assoc. of Insurance Commissioners weaken consumer protection that brings value to health insurance
- CU: Reject efforts to weaken forms for comparing health plans
The White House should implement a new requirement for simple, standardized health insurance forms
- CU to Testify for Consumer Protections in Health Care Law at Congressional Hearing
Testimony challenges proposals that would strip away consumer protections in healthcare
- Covered CA’s Newest Innovation Will Expand Health Care Coverage!
On Tuesday, the Board of Covered California , a new marketplace working toward transformational improvements to the affordability of insurance in California, took action on fulfilling that promise for low income Californians. Offering affordable health plans is a critical priority for Covered California. The Board set in motion an approach to using “Bridge Plans” to Continue Reading
- Demystifying Health Insurance Shopping for Consumers
Covered California, California’s new marketplace that will transform the way consumers shop for affordable health insurance, announced bold action at a press conference today featuring Covered California’s Executive Director Peter Lee and Consumer Reports’ President Jim Guest The event announced how Covered California will transform one of a consumer’s most dreaded tasks—shopping for health insurance—into Continue Reading
- New report shows insurers improving efficiency, lowering profits
New evidence out this week from the Commonwealth Fund confirms that the health reform law’s new rule holding insurers accountable for how they spend our money is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving. Back in the summer we reported on the $1.1 billion in rebates distributed nationwide as a result of the Continue Reading
- Americans got checks from their health insurance companies!
You sent us pictures of your rebate checks and we made them into this video. Then thousands of you put the video in front of your state insurance commissioners and Congress to let them know that a check from your insurance company (and new rules to stop them from overcharging) matter a lot to you. Continue Reading
- Consumers Tell Lawmakers “Don’t Void My Health Insurance Refund” as the House Prepares to Vote on Healthcare Repeal
Your refund check might be in jeopardy if health reform opponents get their way. Included as part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers have to send out refund checks if they spend too much money on overhead and excessive profits. Reports show that across the nation consumers will receive about $1.1 billion in total refunds Continue Reading
- Health insurance refunds – your questions answered
Recently, we posted our map listing insurance companies that may owe refunds to customers because they wasted too much money on overhead according to the new health care law. But how do you know if you qualify for a refund? What types of plans get what refunds? And what if you are on public benefits? Continue Reading
- New data confirms earlier estimates, over $1 billion in consumer insurance rebates coming soon
Today the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan group that covers health care issues, released a new report summarizing national and state level data of estimated insurance refunds coming soon for millions of Americans. The report shows that insurers will owe an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates by August 1, 2012 because insurers failed to spend Continue Reading
- Thanks to health reform law insurers are improving value, preparing for rebates
New rules that demand better value from health insurance companies are beginning to change business practices at some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and consumers will soon be due millions in rebates, according to data released early this month. Enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, better known as the health reform law Continue Reading
- Healthcare law causing rates to drop in Texas
Our routine polling tells us that health insurance costs are among the biggest concerns for Americans and when it comes to healthcare reform, lower rates are at the top of the list of priorities for families. New rules created by the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “Obamacare”, took dead aim at lowering rates and new evidence Continue Reading
- Consumers rally for healthcare rights at the Supreme Court!
We brought 100,000 of you ‘virtually’ to the steps of the Supreme Court on March 27th as the Affordable Care Act was put on trial. Your names were printed on our giant banner in support of healthcare rights, and we unfurled it to show our leaders that consumers want reliable, affordable health care. Watch our Continue Reading
- Blue Cross profit up 20% in 2011; reserves at $1.15 billion Source: Pioneer Press (Tuesday April 3, 2012)
Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota saw its profit grow by just over 20 percent in 2011 as financial reserves at the state’s largest health insurer grew to $1.15 billion.
- Women still pay more for health insurance, data shows Source: New York Times (Monday March 19, 2012)
Women still pay more than men for the same health insurance coverage, according to new research and data from online brokers. The new health care law will prohibit such “gender rating,” starting in 2014.
- Groups push for tough health spending targets in Massachusetts Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday March 16, 2012)
Even as Massachusetts celebrates a dip in the growth rate of health care costs, state lawmakers are still working feverishly on cost-control bills.
- Senate bill could roll back consumers’ health insurance savings Source: ProPublica (Friday March 16, 2012)
This summer, health insurance companies may have to pay more than a billion dollars back to their own customers as part of the 2010 health-care reform law. But now an insurer-supported Senate bill aims to roll back the rebate requirements.
- Feds jump-start health insurance co-ops with loans Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday February 21, 2012)
The plans are being started under the health reform law’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program. The aim is to increase competition among insurers, potentially reducing premiums and improving health care quality and customer service.
- Study: healthcare costs decrease when low-income uninsured are provided coverage Source: UC Irvine (Thursday February 9, 2012)
Enrollment of uninsured patients in a program with benefits comparable to those offered under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 resulted in significant healthcare cost savings, a new study finds.
- Feds reject Texas' request to delay insurance reform Source: Texas Tribune (Friday January 27, 2012)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has rejected the Texas Department of Insurance’s proposal to delay implementation of a federal health care reform provision aimed at curbing rising premiums.
- 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.
- U.S. denies bids by Kansas, Oklahoma for health law waivers Source: Bloomberg (Wednesday January 4, 2012)
Health insurers in Kansas and Oklahoma can’t take more than 20 percent of the revenue they collect in premiums for overhead and profit, after the U.S. today denied requests from the states for more generous limits.
- HHS rejects looser insurance rules in two states Source: The Hill (Wednesday January 4, 2012)
HHS denied Kansas’s and Oklahoma’s requests to soften the healthcare law’s medical loss ratio (MLR) provisions. The law requires insurers selling policies to individuals to spend 80 percent of their premiums on medical costs, with the remaining 20 percent for profit and administrative costs.