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 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
- 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
- Consumers Union’s priorities for health reform
More choices, safer and quality care, and scientific evidence to make good health care decisions
- Health insurance market “Exhibit A” for why we need health reform
CU lays out steps needed to give consumers a fair, affordable and dependable coverage
- A Consumer Guide to Handling Disputes with Your Employer or Private Health Plan
Most people get their health care through some form of managed care plan – a health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, or point-of-service option. Most of the time, people receive the care they need, but the potential exists for disagreements over the services that will be provided or paid for by health plans.
- CU to Testify for Consumer Protections in Health Care Law at Congressional Hearing
Testimony challenges proposals that would strip away consumer protections in healthcare
- September 1: Health insurance rates get stricter scrutiny
Affordable Care Act requires closer review of rate hikes over 10% for individual and small group health plans
- 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
- Less than 100 days away, beneficiaries start to take notice
Less than 100 days remain before the new Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) state Marketplaces open their doors for people to apply for health insurance coverage. The nation remains split on opinions about the ACA, with many even unaware that the ACA is the law of the land. Americans don’t understand the benefits of the ACA, Continue Reading
- Blue Cross Blue Shield owes millions to Texans, again
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is doing better but still isn’t spending enough of its customers’ premiums on health care, according to our analysis of new data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. We’ve been monitoring insurance companies to see how well they’re complying with a provision in the Affordable Care Act that Continue Reading
- Obamacare already saving millions, improving care
Obamacare doesn’t go into full effect until January, but employers, health care providers and individuals are already seeing positive effects. Two recent studies highlight the law’s positive effects on the economy, and Bloomberg reported today on a little-known Obamacare program that is already improving patient care and saving millions. Under Obamacare, health care providers can Continue Reading
- 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
- 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.