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 | 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

Agency votes to begin rulemaking process to protect American children, firefighters from hazardous flame retardant chemicals

Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took three critical steps toward protecting consumers and firefighters from the hazards posed by a class of flame retardant chemicals (known as “organohalogens”). The CPSC directed the Commission’s staff to begin the rulemaking process to ban the sale of four categories of consumer products if they contain these chemicals. Once again, the CPSC has made an important action for consumers.

> Keep Reading

Statement on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

Statement from OSPIRG Foundation Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

> 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

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News Release | OSPIRG | Health Care

Kitzhaber Administration takes action on health care costs

At the direction of Gov. Kitzhaber, the Oregon Health Policy Board has adopted an OSPIRG-backed proposal to take steps toward cutting the waste out of our health care system, estimated to make up as much as 1/3 of every dollar we spend on care.

> Keep Reading
News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Over $69 Million in Waste Cut from 2014 Health Insurance Premiums

Close scrutiny of proposed health insurance premiums for 2014 has cut over $69 million in waste and unjustified costs from premiums for Oregon consumers and small businesses, according to a new OSPIRG Foundation report released today. The new cuts come after OSPIRG Foundation’s analysis questioned the justifications of five major rate proposals. Taken together with cuts made since new standards were implemented, state officials have required insurers to cut $155 million in waste since 2010.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Health Care

Hooray! Few Oregonians receive health insurance rebates

As health insurance companies spread $500 million in rebates to families around the U.S. this summer, Oregonians won’t represent a huge chunk of the recipients. That’s a good thing, argues Jesse Ellis O’Brien, health care advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG).

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Health Care

Oregon slashes 2014 health insurance premium requests by as much as 35 percent

Oregonians who buy their own insurance have the first clear indication of what 2014 premiums will look like after state regulators Tuesday slashed carriers' rate requests by as much as 35 percent.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Health Care

OSPIRG: 16 Health Insurance Companies Need To Justify Rates

An Oregon consumer group says the 16 companies that have proposed insurance rates for the state's new health exchange haven't offered adequate justification for prices.

> Keep Reading

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Regence Proposal to Raise Small Businesses Rates

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (Regence) is proposing a rate increase on small business plans, with an average increase of 10.8%, impacting 54,299 Oregonians, effective July 1, 2011.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace: Negotiating for a Better Deal

A well-made state exchange can help deliver lower costs for individuals and small businesses. Just as big businesses negotiate with insurers, using the bargaining power of their employees to push for lower premiums, so too can exchange enrollees benefit from a muscular exchange that negotiates on their behalf for better choices and lower costs.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace: Ensuring Accountability

The creation of a new health insurance exchange offers states an opportunity to improve health care and lower costs by pooling consumers’ bargaining power, creating economies of scale, and pushing insurers toward delivering lower costs and higher quality.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on Health Net's Rate Increase Proposal

Health Net Health Plan of Oregon is proposing an average 8.27% rate increase on small business plans impacting 37,872 Oregonians, effective April 1, 2011.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Comments on United HealthCare's Proposed Rate Hike

In this rate filing, United HealthCare does not appear to justify the proposed 16.8% increase.

> Keep Reading

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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.

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

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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