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

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Getting All the Cards on the Table

States do have options to increase transparency so consumers have better information and are better protected against unreasonable rate increases. One important opportunity is through a process called rate review, which can potentially empower consumers by requiring insurers to make information on why rates are increasing publically available.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

NEW HEALTH EXCHANGE RULES CAN HELP ARIZONA MOVE FORWARD

The rules released today by the federal Department of Health and Human Services put states in the driver’s seat when it comes to setting up new health benefits exchanges. Exchanges are a centerpiece of the federal health reform law, allowing states to create new competitive marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can get a better deal on coverage. The regulations lay out the minimum standards a state will need to meet in order to run their own exchange, but states will need to make many additional decisions to ensure that their exchange serves consumers’ needs.

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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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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

STUDY OF NEW HEALTH EXCHANGES SHOWS ARIZONA HOW TO LOWER COSTS FOR CONSUMERS

Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Arizona should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.  Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

 

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Comments on the Rate Review Program before the Arizona Department of Insurance

When consumers consider whether health care reform has been a success, many of them will have a simple test in mind – when they open the envelope that lays out their health insurance rates, will the premium increase be affordable, or will it be unreasonable? Experts know that there are a host of inefficiencies, misaligned incentives, and system failures behind that one number, many of which have little to do with any particular insurer.

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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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