Health Insurance Rate Watch Project

Arizona PIRG Education Fund's Health Insurance Rate Watch Project is conducting in-depth analysis of insurers' rate hike requests, sharing our findings with state officials and the general public, and encouraging the public to participate in Arizona’s rate review process.

FIGHTING UNJUSTIFIED PREMIUM HIKES

It’s time for health insurers to get serious about lowering the cost of care by cutting waste and focusing on preventive care that gets results—instead of raising deductibles and hiking premiums. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project is working to make this a reality.

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project will investigate the biggest rate hike proposals and alert officials to areas of waste and concern. We will then mobilize the public to encourage state decision makers to stand up for consumers.

WHAT’S AT STAKE
Health care costs too much, delivers too little in return, and is squeezing the budgets of families and small businesses across the state. Health insurance companies could be lowering costs by cutting administrative bloat, driving a hard bargain with hospitals on prices, paying doctors to keep people healthy rather than to order expensive treatments, and passing on those savings to customers. But too often, they just keep raising rates on their customers without performing these functions.

Before insurance companies hike rates, they need to demonstrate that they are doing everything they can to keep rates down. State officials need to be able to scrutinize these rate hikes to make sure every red cent is justified—and reject them if they are not. When public pressure has been brought to bear on rate increases, dramatic savings have been won for consumers. 

Issue updates

California’s new drug price law is a win for consumers nationwide

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 17 into law, a groundbreaking measure to increase transparency and accountability for the prescription drug industry. We celebrate the new law—passed with support and hard work from CALPIRG—as a landmark victory for consumers, not just in California, but nationwide.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Our Statement in Opposition to Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

The latest version of health care legislation before the U.S. Senate remains very dangerous for American consumers, and we urge a “no” vote.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Our Statement on the Failure of the US Senate Health Care Bill

American consumers can breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislation that was narrowly defeated in the US Senate last night threatened to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Our Statement on Senate Health Care Bill

Statement by Jesse Ellis O’Brien, Arizona PIRG Health Care Advocate, on public release of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Great News for Consumers: Anthem Drops Bid to Take Over Cigna

This morning, health insurance giant Anthem dropped its troubled bid to take over one of its top competitors, Cigna. A February district court decision to block the proposed merger on anti-trust grounds was recently upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, but with Anthem’s decision today, this anti-competitive takeover bid is finally laid to rest. This development comes after months of work by Arizona PIRG and a broad coalition of consumer and health care groups, urging close scrutiny of the merger from state and federal regulators and raising questions and concerns about the potential impact on consumers.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health, Health Care

Our Statement on the Failure of the US Senate Health Care Bill

American consumers can breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislation that was narrowly defeated in the US Senate last night threatened to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Our Statement on Senate Health Care Bill

Statement by Jesse Ellis O’Brien, Arizona PIRG Health Care Advocate, on public release of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Health Care

Great News for Consumers: Anthem Drops Bid to Take Over Cigna

This morning, health insurance giant Anthem dropped its troubled bid to take over one of its top competitors, Cigna. A February district court decision to block the proposed merger on anti-trust grounds was recently upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, but with Anthem’s decision today, this anti-competitive takeover bid is finally laid to rest. This development comes after months of work by Arizona PIRG and a broad coalition of consumer and health care groups, urging close scrutiny of the merger from state and federal regulators and raising questions and concerns about the potential impact on consumers.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG | Health Care

Our Statement on House Passage of the American Health Care Act

Today’s House vote is a big step in the wrong direction for American consumers and the American health care system. It’s no secret that there are plenty of problems with health care in America, but the AHCA in its current form not only won’t address the real problems in our health care system—it is likely to make them worse.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

With Beginning of Open Enrollment for Health Insurance, Efforts to Educate & Enroll Young Adults are Underway

With open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace just underway, Pima Community College leaders, the Interim Regional Director for Health & Human Services (HHS) and members of the Cover Arizona coalition highlighted efforts to educate and enroll young Arizonans in health insurance.

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Pages

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Making the Grade

When it comes to health care, there are few magic-bullet solutions for the many problems consumers face in the marketplace: insurers don’t compete for their business, leading to higher prices and lower quality. Important information about coverage is buried in the fine print, making it hard to know what’s really covered or which plan is right. And costs are continuing their unsustainable rise.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Mediating for Citizens

An ombudsman office plays an important role in government.  It provides citizens with an outlet for resolving legitimate grievances with government agencies, which can bolster public confidence in government and promote accountability of public officials and state agencies. This report makes recommendations for bolstering the effectiveness of the Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide Office.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

The Young Person's Guide to Health Insurance

A provision of the new federal health care law that goes into effect today allowing parents to keep children on their health insurance plan until age 26 will benefit 30,900 young people, according to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund marked the day by releasing The Young Person’s Guide to Health Insurance, a consumer guide which offers information about the rights and options available to young people and their families under the new law, which includes a letter addressed to students coming back to college this fall from President Barack Obama. 

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Delivering on the Promise

The recently passed federal health care reform law will make significant changes in how health insurance and health care work for consumers, businesses, and local and state governments, as well as how insurers and providers operate. But whether Americans experience improved care, lower costs and greater access depends largely on what happens next.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

The Facts About Comparative Effectiveness Research

As Congressional and public debate over health care reform grows more intense, comparative effectiveness research (CER) has emerged as an unlikely flashpoint of controversy. Opponents’ claims that CER results in the rationing of health care or a government takeover are belied by the true nature of such research: it is simply fundamental scientific research of medical treatments aimed at determining the most effective ways to treat sickness and injury.

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Pages

Blog Post | Health Care

Here’s that Rx refill you didn’t order | Diane Brown

Is your pharmacy refilling your prescription without your knowledge or approval, and billing your insurance company for the cost? If so, it’s the latest example of waste we shouldn't tolerate in our health care system.

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Pages

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

People living in the United States have access to some of the best medical care in the world, from life-saving drugs to cutting-edge surgical techniques. But our system is deeply flawed, with spiraling costs forcing many Americans to spend more on care and often receiving poor quality care for all the extra money spent.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund

While many Americans struggle to afford their prescription drugs, Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s survey of retail prices of commonly prescribed medications found patients can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in some cases by shopping around at pharmacies within their communities.

Blog Post

Cost containment is is a critical first step in addressing the deep faults in our health care system - it's hard to image fixing problems of access if we continue to be charged $15 for a Tylenol pill or $1,000 for a toothbrush. It turns out that overpriced equipment repair helps add to those inflated costs.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

King Bio Inc. issued the second significant voluntary recall since late July of their homeopathic drugs on Wednesday. Safety concerns over homeopathic drugs extend beyond King Bio as over the past several years, the FDA has issued recalls to several companies for a variety of health products from zinc-containing intranasal medicine to asthma drugs with toxic ingredients. 

News Release

Today, President Trump signed a new Executive Order that aims to loosen up rules for health insurance plans for individuals, families and small businesses. Though the administration touts the potential for lower-cost health insurance under looser rules, this action will not help American consumers. In fact, it is likely to make matters worse by destabilizing the markets Americans rely on for health coverage. American consumers need real action on health care costs, but this simply will not cut it.

Health Care

Fighting surprise medical bills

To help protect consumers from surprise medical bills, we've launched a campaign to educate consumers on their rights to push back if they receive a surprise medical bill.

 

Health Care

Bipartisan bill to stop surprise medical billing becomes law

Americans will now be protected from surprise medical bills sent by out-of-network providers thanks to a new bipartisan law prohibiting "balance billing," where providers charge patients the difference between their fees and the maximum allowed by the patient's insurance.

 

Health Care | U.S. PIRG

Searching for common ground on caregiving

In our politically divided time, it's difficult to see where we can find common ground. But the need to value the work of caring for our loved ones is one such place. PIRG Senior Director of New Economy Campaigns Evan Preston explains in his blog, "Toward Consensus on Caregiving."

 
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