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
- How Much Is Too Much: Have Nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans Amassed Excessive Amounts of Surplus?
Have nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans amassed excessive amounts of surplus?
- New rule requires plans to spend a percentage of premiums on actual medical care
CU comments on the future Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) standards, to be established under Section 2718 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act), which will require health plans to spend a minimum percentage of insurance premiums on actual medical care and quality-of-care measures rather than administrative costs and profit.
- What will you get under health reform?
Find out what benefits you’ll get, when they’ll be available and how the key provisions will work
- Shopping for insurance after reform
How the exchanges would work, looking at the Massachusetts model.
- 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.
- 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.
- Best consumer protections when choosing a health plan
New study finds a manageable choice of standardized health benefit packages, with an annual out-of-pocket limit, gives consumers the best deal
- Five common fears about health care reform
The realities behind the fearful talk
- Consumers Union’s priorities for health reform
More choices, safer and quality care, and scientific evidence to make good health care decisions
- From NAIC Consumer Representatives: Key Consumer Protection at Risk
The consumer representatives to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are very disappointed in the vote taken today by the NAIC Professional Health Insurance Advisor’s Task Force to endorse HR 1206, the Rogers Bill, which would take broker and agent compensation out of the medical loss ratio (MLR) calculation created by the Affordable Care Act.
- CU calls on WA Senators to pass insurance reforms
Bill would give consumers access to critical information about their health insurance premiums
- 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
- Consumers Union Urges U.S. Senate to Vote Against Repeal of Health Reform Law
While the law is not perfect, it makes significant strides toward curbing abuses by the insurance industry
- Consumers Union Statement on Federal Judge’s Ruling on Health Reform Law in Florida
As courts continue to wrestle with the constitutional question, consumers continue to enjoy new protections
- New Health Reform Benefits Going Into Effect On January 1
As the new year begins, insurance companies will have to abide by new requirements on how premium dollars are spent, Medicare enrollees will get free preventive care and access to drug discounts, community health centers will receive more funding, and all hospitals will begin reporting certain patient infection rates.
- CU statement on judge’s ruling on health reform law in Virginia
This law, while not perfect, protects consumers against the worst practices of the health insurance industry
- 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.
- CR Health: How to navigate the newly reformed health care system
New report explains what consumers need to watch for; lays out next steps
- New heathcare law rule working to lower premiums
It’s been hard economic times for most American families the last few years. But it’s a different story for big insurance companies. The most recent example comes from Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC), which exceeded $1 billion in net income for the second straight year. HCSC is the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas, 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
- Holding health insurance companies accountable
Keeping your health insurance costs down is one of our top priorities. Which is why we’ve been working both publicly and behind the scenes to make sure insurance companies adhere to the new national health care law that says they can’t spend more than 20 percent of your premium on their overhead, marketing or CEO Continue Reading
- HHS rules in favor of Texas consumers, insurance companies to rebate up to $160 million
In another major win for consumers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has denied Texas’ request to delay implementing part of the health reform law. The rule at issue, known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule, requires that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their customers’ premium dollars on actual Continue Reading
- NC, WI applications complete; HHS to rule on rebates soon
Like Texas, Florida and several states before, insurance departments in North Carolina and Wisconsin have now finalized applications to delay an important new rule that could slow rising insurance premiums or even give you a rebate. On Wednesday, the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened up a formal public comment period for these state applications giving the Continue Reading
- Health care consumers win again in Kansas, Oklahoma
Despite their requests to soften its implementation, health insurance companies in Kansas and Oklahoma will have to immediately comply with the Affordable Care Act’s rule that they spend at least 80% of their customers’ premiums on health care bills, not on overhead and profits. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that implementing Continue Reading
- HHS ruling a big win for Florida health insurance consumers
In a major win for consumers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has rejected Florida’s request to delay a new rule requiring health insurance companies to spend at least 80% of their customers’ premium dollars on actual medical bills. Reacting to the ruling, Consumers Union Advocate Blake Hutson said, “Today’s announcement means that Continue Reading
- Florida rebate decision coming soon; Tampa Bay news breaks down the issue
We’ll soon know the fate of a new rule aimed at helping Floridians who buy health insurance on their own get better value for their money. Federal regulators are set to decide whether to grant the state a waiver from meeting a new requirement in the health reform law that says insurers must spend 80% Continue Reading
- Insurance regulators support plan to undermine consumer rebates
While millions of Americans spent last week focused on family, friends and Thanksgiving dinner, a behind-the-scenes group of state regulators voted in favor of a plan that could undermine billions in rebates due consumers from insurance companies. The closely divided vote pitted insurance industry giants against families and small businesses who buy health insurance on their own. At issue was a key component Continue Reading
- Florida shouldn’t weaken a new rule that gives consumers more value for their health insurance premiums
Today, Consumers Union urged federal officials to reject the state of Florida’s request to dramatically water down new consumer protections provided under the health reform law. If granted, the state’s request would mean the loss of an estimated $144 million in health insurance refunds to consumers over the next three years.
- Texas Dems drag Perry into fight over health waiver request Source: The Hill (Thursday December 22, 2011)
Texas House Democrats sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday urging her to reject the state’s request that insurers be allowed to spend a larger portion of premiums on profits and overhead.
- Fed ruling forces health insurers to pay $89 million in rebates Source: Crain's Detroit Business (Monday December 19, 2011)
The federal government has denied a request by the Michigan Office of Insurance Regulation to delay a regulation under health care reform that requires insurers to return $89 million to people who have purchased health insurance.
- HHS rejects Michigan’s request for MLR adjustment Source: The Hill (Monday December 19, 2011)
The Health and Human Services Department rejected Michigan’s request for an adjustment to the law’s medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements. The law requires insurance plans for individuals to spend 80 percent of their premiums on medical costs. Only the remaining 20 percent can go toward profits and administrative costs.
- 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
- Workers' health premiums rose 63% in seven years, study shows Source: San Francisco Chonicle (Wednesday November 23, 2011)
U.S. workers’ health insurance premiums rose 63 percent from 2003 to 2010 as employers shifted more of the burden of rising medical costs to individuals and families, according to a Commonwealth Fund study.
- Obama administration rejects Republican states' health law waiver requests Source: The Hill (Monday November 28, 2011)
The Department of Health and Human Services determined that the health plans of Indiana and Louisiana can meet the new health law’s medical loss ratio and that consumers will get better value without an adjustment. The MLR provision requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care or offer rebates to their Continue Reading
- Cost of employer insurance plans surge in 2011 Source: Kaiser Health News (Tuesday September 27, 2011)
Employers’ spending on health coverage for workers spiked abruptly this year, with the average cost of a family plan rising by 9 percent, triple the growth seen in 2010. Family plan premiums hit $15,073 on average, while coverage for single employees grew 8 percent to $5,429, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation Continue Reading
- Nearly one million young adults get insurance under health law Source: Kaiser Health News (Wednesday September 21, 2011)
Nearly 1 million young adults have gained health coverage this year following the passage of the health overhaul law, which lets them stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26, according to a federal report released today.