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News Release
9/1/2011
CONTACT Carmen Balber
Washington, D.C. – New federal health reform rules take effect today that require health insurance companies to publicly justify the reasons for any rate increase of 10% or more. The hope is that insurers who must explain their rates publicly will be shamed into ending unreasonable rate increases. Betting affordable health coverage on a...
Blog Post
8/23/2011
By Judy Dugan
The body that is enacting the biggest market change in the federal health reform--the building of a Health Insurance Exchange where individuals and small businesses will band together to buy coverage--spent much of its meeting Tuesday talking about its proposed guiding principles, mission statement, and vision statement. Despite the vague, high...
Blog Post
8/17/2011
By Judy Dugan
No one who watched the development of the federal health reform law ever doubted that companies would find ways to make money from it. So far it's been mostly expensive seminars to tell health insurance managers how to comply with the law--and maybe evade it a little. But a new twist showed up today, and it's an "aha!" moment...
News Release
8/2/2011
CONTACT Carmen Balber
Washington, DC – In a U.S. Senate Health committee hearing today examining the rapid pace of health insurance premium increases, a federal regulator told senators that the rate review provisions of the federal health care law are a powerful consumer protection tool, but that the authority to reject unjustified rates provides consumers...
Blog Post
7/26/2011
By Carmen Balber
Why would Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu endorse an attack on the health reform law that could cost her own constituents millions in lost rebates and health insurance premium hikes? One of the very few provisions of the law with the potential to reduce the price of health insurance for consumers is the requirement that insurance companies...
Blog Post
7/23/2011
By Carmen Balber
10 Days to Default? Washington has been consumed by debt negotiations that escalated again last night when House Speaker Boehner walked out of discussions with the President. The two-fold debate is one half inconceivable -- will House Republicans cling so stubbornly to their anti-tax rhetoric they they remain willfully blind to the consequences...
News Release
6/23/2011
CONTACT Carmen Balber
Washington, DC – A health reform regulation issued by the Obama administration late Wednesday bends toward industry demands and undermines rights granted to patients under federal health reform allowing them to appeal wrongful denials of care by health plans. Consumer Watchdog called on the administration to reverse changes in the rule and...
Blog Post
6/14/2011
By Carmen Balber
The so-called "medical loss ratio" is one of the most important consumer protections in the federal health reform law. It is supposed to force insurance companies to reduce administrative waste, excessive profits and oversized executive salaries, giving us all more health care for our money. The rule - requiring at least 80 cents of...
Blog Post
6/13/2011
By Judy Dugan
Sometimes it takes just a couple of numbers to clarify a huge, complex issue--In this case, what to do about Medicare. Medicare costs are up 400% since 1969--scary, right? But private health insurance premiums in the same period are up 700%--nearly twice as scary.  In today's New York Times, economist and columnist Paul Krugman...
Blog Post
6/8/2011
By Judy Dugan
Health insurance companies aren't the only ones that raked in the dough as insurance premiums rose 138% over the last decade. Health insurance brokers, who get their pay as sales commissions from insurance companies, made out like bandits, too. A recent California Department of Insurance survey of four of the five top insurers in the state...