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Health Insurance Rate Watch Project
OSPIRG Foundation’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 Oregon’s rate review process.
Scrutinizing Health Insurance Rate Hikes
Oregonians have reached a breaking point on health care costs: At the current rate, the cost of covering the average Oregon family could rise to more than $21,000 a year by 2019.  At the same time, studies show that a third or more of every dollar we spend on health care is wasted on something that does not improve our health. 
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 doing these things. 
Thankfully, state officials, led by the Oregon Insurance Division, have significantly stepped up their scrutiny of health insurers’ rate hike requests. Since 2010, it made cuts to a majority of requests, cutting over $179 million in waste.  Highlights include:
- Regence BlueCross BlueShield (2011): $12.5 million in waste cut, over $200 per person, when the state knocked back a 22% proposed increase nearly in half.
- Providence (2013): $17.9 million in waste cut when the state trimmed back proposed rates by over 20%.
OSPIRG Foundation’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project is doing our part by 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 Oregon’s rate review process.
Our work is supported in part by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and from a grant of federal funds by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The project is supported by Grant Number IPRPR0057A from Department of Health and Human Services Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CCIIO.
Learn more about Oregon's rate review process--and sign up to get notified about major rate proposals--at the Oregon Insurance Division's consumer-friendly website, www.oregonhealthrates.org
Our project is guided by an Advisory Board of community leaders and experts, including:
- Jerry Cohen of AARP-Oregon
- Jim Houser of Hawthorne Auto Clinic.
 For employer coverage, based on 2009-2014 trends. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2014 Summary of Findings
 For some real-life examples of cutting waste out of health care, see Atul Gawande's "Overkill," The New Yorker, May 2015.
 OSPIRG Foundation, September 2014, Accountability in Action.
Health care has been a hot topic in Washington again this 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.
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.
Providence Health Plan has proposed a rate hike of 13.6% on average—as high as 24.1% for some—on over 90,000 Oregonians. According to a new OSPIRG Foundation analysis released today, this rate hike proposal may overstate costs and overcharge consumers for health coverage.
- OSPIRG FOUNDATION COMMENTS ON THE PROVIDENCE HEALTH PLAN PROPOSAL FOR INDIVIDUAL HEALTH RATES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2019
- Improving Price Transparency
- OSPIRG Foundation Comments on the Providence Health Plan Proposal for Individual Health Rates Effective January 2018
- Comments on Providence Health Plan's proposal to raise individual health insurance rates
- Comments on Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest's proposal to raise individual health insurance rates
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