Health Insurance Alert

WE CAN HELP — Our health care policy experts are working to provide you with the resources you need to make the most of new health care consumer protections and tools.

How To Get The Best Deal

Newly uninsured and looking for coverage?  Deciding if your current plan still gives you the best value? Consumers have new options and protections. Know the facts.

1. Check out your options at the Health Insurance Marketplace. The plans include coverage for doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions and more.
You can sign up right away, and don’t have to wait until the next open enrollment period if you’ve recently lost coverage, or in other special cases.

Online: HealthCare.gov

Toll free: (800) 318-2596  TTY: (855) 889-4325

2. Find out about financial help. You may qualify for financial help to reduce monthly costs, and could be eligible for free or low-cost coverage. Check your eligibility online at HealthCare.gov or by calling one of the numbers above.

3. Get help comparing options and signing up. Take advantage of expert in-person help at no cost to you. Find a list of people who can help you and make an appointment online.

4. Compare plans. Key considerations include the monthly premium, potential out-of-pocket costs, provider network and independent quality ratings.

5. Don’t take no for an answer. Insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

6. Switch plans if you want to. In the health insurance marketplace, every year at open enrollment you can stick with your current plan, or switch to a new one.

7. Learn more. Check out our detailed Health Insurance 101 guide, So You Need Health Insurance. Now What?

8. Keep in touch. Check for updates on our website, and tell us about your experience. We want to hear what you think so we can spot trends and advocate for ongoing improvements. Contact us.

 

Health Care Consumer Protections

If you have coverage, you should know about your rights under the health care law, including:

  • Children and young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26
  • Free preventive care, including check-ups and vaccinations
  • Insurance companies can’t set a lifetime cap on what they’ll pay if you get sick
  • Rebates if your insurance company spends less than 80% of premiums on care
  • No more annual caps on what your insurer will pay if you get
  • Insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for coverage

See more information about the health care law, the Affordable Care Act

Issue updates

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Health Care

The Real Price of Medication

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.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG | Health Care

Oregon Releases Report on Rising Drug Costs

Oregon's Drug Price Transparency Program has released its first annual report.  The progam found that Oregonians, on average, pay five times the highest international price for prescriptions.  

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

Why Get Insured? My Coverage Saved me $16,278 After a Climbing Accident. | Numi Lee Griffith

OSPIRG Health Care Advocate Numi Griffith breaks down how health insurance reduced her medical bills by over $16,000 after a climbing accident.

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

CDC estimates at least 35,000 die from drug-resistant infections annually

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR 2020: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW | Numi Lee Griffith

It's open enrollment season for health insurance in Oregon's individual market, from November 1 until December 15th.  What's new in the marketplace, and what do you need to know in order to gt covered?

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

REPORT: Most Fast Food Chains Get Poor Grades for Overuse of Antibiotics in Beef

The fifth annual Chain Reaction report grades the top fast food and fast casual chains on antibiotic use in their beef supply chains. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

New analysis uncovers unsafe blood pressure medication distributed in US

A new analysis of publicly available information from the FDA by U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund finds only 26 percent of a class of recalled blood pressure medications have been assessed for carcinogen contamiantion -- and the majority had some lots with higher levels than the FDA considers safe.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG | Public Health

Governor Kate Brown Issues Moratorium on Flavored Vaping Products

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued a six month moratorium on the sale of flavored vaping products, an important step towards fighting nicotine addiction in children.  In response, consumer oganization OSPIRG has called for state lawmakers to pass a permanent ban on all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Oregon’s Insurance Market Faces Rising Premiums, but the State has Options to Stabilize the Marketplace

Oregon consumers face rising health insurance premiums on the individual market, due to rising health care costs and recent changes to federal policy.  A new report from OSPIRG Foundaiton and Frontier Group explores the drivers of market instability and policy options for the state to stabilize the marketplace and expand consumer choice.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Health Care

Prices of common medications can vary by hundreds of dollars

OSPIRG Foundation Researchers surveyed over 250 pharmacies across 11 states regarding cash prices for several common medications.  The report on the findings of this survey found extreme varations in price between different pharmacies.

> Keep Reading

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

OSPIRG FOUNDATION COMMENTS ON THE PROVIDENCE HEALTH PLAN PROPOSAL FOR INDIVIDUAL HEALTH RATES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2019

Providence Health Plan’s 91,425 members with individual health insurance plans will see rate hikes of 13.6% on average, and as high as 24.1%, if the premium increase proposed by Providence goes forward. 

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group | Health Care

Improving Price Transparency

Opaque and unavailable prices for health care services violate the basic consumer right to know in advance about the price of goods or services. When consumers are asked to make decisions about care without access to meaningful price information, they are unable to make informed decisions in high-stakes situations that can profoundly affect their future health and financial security. Improving the price transparency of health care services isn’t just about fulfilling a basic consumer right – it is also a critical step in diagnosing and addressing the high cost of health care. 

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Public Health

In Your Face

The negative health effects of asbestos are well-known. Most people may associate asbestos contamination with the workplace or decades-old construction material, but alarmingly, recent media reports have found asbestos contamination in kids' makeup from popular stores. PIRG decided to do its own asbestos testing at an accredited laboratory.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction III

The third annual Chain Reaction report, which grades companies on their antibiotics policies and practices, found that 14 out of the top 25 restaurants in the U.S. have taken steps to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in the production of the chicken they serve, up from nine just one year ago. While restaurant chains made great progress on chicken, the groups who authored the report found that there were no new commitments to limit antibiotic use in beef and pork.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

OSPIRG Foundation Comments on the Providence Health Plan Proposal for Individual Health Rates Effective January 2018

Providence Health Plan’s 104,747 members with individual health insurance plans will see rate hikes of 22.7% on average, and as high as 68.3%, if the premium rate hike proposed by Providence goes forward.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Public Health

Toxic triclosan in toothpaste? | Dev Gowda

A recent article in the LA Times revealed that a new study found that the toxic compound triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste as well as other consumer products such as cosmetics, children’s toys, and yoga mats, “could cause adverse effects on colonic inflammation and colon cancer.”

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a deadly project: Toxic paint removers being sold by Lowe’s and other stores | Dev Gowda

No one should lose a loved one to deadly chemicals. But right now you can walk into Lowe’s and other stores and buy paint removers containing highly toxic chemicals.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR 2018: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW | Jesse O'Brien

It’s that time again: Time to enroll in health insurance for next year. Health care has been a political football in Washington throughout the year, and there has been a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the future. With all of this background noise, it’s more important than ever to get the facts about how you and your family can get coverage that works for you. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

During This Intense Hurricane Season: Some Reports and Information On Storms, Chemicals and Public Safety | Kara Cook-Schultz

Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster, and a devastating one at that. During and after the hurricane, we learned anew that it’s not only the initial storm that threatens life and limb, but also chemical facilities that are hit.  As Irma bears down on Florida, we hope for the best outcome for the people of Florida. We also want the state to prepare for the worst. In that spirit, here are some resources and information on storms, chemicals and public safety.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Health Care

Accountability in Action: Rate Review Cuts More Than $100 Million from 2018 Health Insurance Premiums | Jesse Ellis O'Brien

Close scrutiny of proposed health insurance rates for 2018, along with a new state program to contain rate hikes, has cut more than $100 million from premiums for Oregon consumers. This brings the total in premium cut by Oregon’s rate review program to more than $280 million since 2010.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the equipment that is essential to diagnose and treat patients, such as ventilators. As that equipment is pressed into round-the-clock use, biomedical repair technicians face increasing pressure to maintain and repair all that equipment. However, in too many cases, manufacturers limit access to the essential tools and information these repair experts need. A new report by the OSPIRG Foundation, Hospital Repair Restrictions, details the challenges that medical professionals face as a result of device manufacturers setting up barriers to repair, and outlines steps to take to help hospitals. 

Report | OSPIRG Foundation

COVID-19 is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the work of hospital biomedical repair technicians, known as biomeds or BMETs. These technicians are essential; hospitals need working equipment to diagnose and treat patients. But in some cases, manufacturers restrict access to what biomeds need.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million Americans contract a food borne illness yearly with 128,000 people hospitalized and 3,000 dead as a result of these illnesses. 

The food safety system uses two lines of defense to help prevent this threat. First a series of inspections and enforcement measures identify hazardous products before they make it to store shelves and Americans’ plates. Second, when a foodborne pathogen or other threats are still sold for consumption, the recall system attempts to remove the food from store shelves as quickly as possible and alerts consumers about the hazard. While not all illnesses are connected to a source, removing contaminated food from the market helps protect the public.

News Release | OSPIRG

The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill this Tuesday banning online and other remote sales of vaping products.

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