Navigation Links
Revisions to Health Care Reform Must Include Rate Freeze, Rate Regulation and States' Rights Provisions, Says Consumer Watchdog

Insurers Would Get Tens of Millions of New Customers Under Reform, and Owe Americans a Break From Audacious Rate Spikes by Anthem Blue Cross and Others

WASHINGTON, March 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog called on President Obama to impose a national freeze on health insurance rates before health reform takes effect to protect consumers from premium hikes like the 39% increase recently announced by Anthem Blue Cross in California. The rate freeze is one of five tools Consumer Watchdog urged the president to include as part of his proposed fixes to the Senate health care bill.

"Insurance companies that have spiked their rates in advance of the passage of health reform must offer families a breather on rates in return for gaining tens of millions of new customers. Given the audacity of health insurance rate increases last year and this year, and with the economy in deep recession, only federal legislation can curb the spiral of unaffordability. A rate freeze is critical to hold prices in check until new consumer protections have time to take effect," said Carmen Balber, Washington Director for Consumer Watchdog.

The group outlined five must-have consumer fixes that will allow the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") and the states to protect consumers from insurer abuses including unjustified rate hikes that the President should include in the reconciliation bill to follow House passage of the Senate health care legislation.

1. Freeze health insurance rate increases. Freeze health insurance rates—including premiums, deductibles and copays—at current levels until a state or HHS institutes robust health insurance rate regulation. (See No. 2)

2. Require effective rate regulation. Expand on the modest rate regulation requirements of the Senate bill to:

* Require prior approval of rate changes by state regulators

* Guarantee the public's right to intervene to further reduce rates

* Increase federal grants to states for development of "prior approval" regulations

* Publish strong federal fallback regulations to take effect in states that do not adopt effective prior approval regulation

* Require consumer premium refunds if rates that have already gone into effect are later found to be excessive

California's landmark prior approval rate regulation for auto insurance, Proposition 103, has saved drivers in California $62 billion since 1988, and is a model for health insurance reform. Read more in a 2008 Consumer Federation of America report at:

3. Broaden states' rights to expand coverage. With multiple compromises that eliminated key pieces of reform, states must have the ability to expand upon national reform to provide better coverage for their citizens by 2014. Under the Senate bill states may apply to use federal Medicaid, tax subsidies and other funds for alternate, state-based health reform. The follow-up bill should add an explicit right for states to establish universal coverage similar to Medicare for all residents, and make automatic any federal waivers necessary for states to take control of their health care systems, including Medicare and ERISA waivers.

4. Bar "nationwide plans" from escaping state rules. As the recent Blue Cross premium-hike scandal has shown, insurers will attempt to push customers into low-benefit policies with high out of pocket costs by ratcheting up the price of comprehensive coverage. The so-called "nationwide plans" in the Senate bill will further enable this deplorable tactic if, as the bill is currently drafted, they may bypass state consumer protections. This exemption from state laws, which will encourage a race to the bare-bones bottom of insurance coverage and allow insurers to cherry-pick younger, healthier customers, should be eliminated.

5. Provide legal accountability. Patients who have health coverage paid for in part or full by employers are currently unable to hold insurers legally accountable for denying medically necessary treatments. 132 million Americans with private employer-paid health coverage cannot recover damages against an insurer even if the company's failure to approve treatment kills a loved one. The loophole was created by a 1987 Supreme Court decision in the case of Pilot Life v. Dedeaux. If government requires the purchase of health insurance policies, it must guarantee access to justice when insurers wrongfully deny treatment to patients. For more information, go to:

Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at:

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

Back to top



SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. URAC Calls for Public Comment on Revisions to its Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) and Drug Therapy Management (DTM), Version 2.0 Standards and NEW Performance Measures, and PHARM Core, Version 3.0 Standards
2. Considering Revision Surgery? Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Washington DC-based Dr. Mark E. Richards Pioneers Facelift Revisions Attracting Patients Worldwide
3. URAC Invites Public Input in Response to Revisions to Health Plan and Health Network Accreditation Programs
4. Revisions to College Cost Reduction and Access Act will create barriers to primary care
5. New approach to immune cell analysis seen as first step to better distinguish health and disease
6. National Prosthodontics Awareness Week Serves and Educates Consumers About Proper Oral Health Care
7. David Wolfe Hosts 3-Day Longevity Conference: Top Wellness Experts Reveal Tomorrow's Best Natural Health and Nutrition Information Today
8. Five Organizations Receive APAs Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Ten Honored for Best Practices
9. Survey Reveals Health Insurance and Access to Care Not So Closely Linked
10. Illinois State Senator Cullerton Recognized for Advocacy Work on Mental Health Issues
11. Healthy Aging Icon Ups Patient Motivational Levels, Signs His Personal Trainer To Age-Management Team
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Wimbledon ... programs, launches new Wimbledon Athletics Facebook page to educate the public, ... unsuspected cardiac abnormalities. About 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Smiles by Stevens is pleased to announce ... wrinkling. While many patients are aware of the benefits of Botox® in the treatment ... those suffering with discomfort, soreness, and pain as a result of Jaw Tension, TMJ ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... decades of music, friendships, and learning in its 65th Anniversary Brillianteen Revue, scheduled ... 5-6. , For 65 years, Brillianteen has been a treasured tradition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Today, ... fatalities on our nation’s roadways has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since ... 10,076 in 2013. , According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... I found that regular bras were incredibly uncomfortable," said an inventor from Bronx, ... bra." , She developed the patent-pending RECOVERY BRA for added comfort and support. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Thanks to a donor with a personal ... Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women,s Health now ... San Francisco . Fred ... with a gift of $617,320 that allowed the Center ... Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast Ultrasound. Tomosynthesis, three-dimensional (3-D) mammography ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ESSA Pharma Inc. ("ESSA" or ... today that the first patient has been enrolled in ... treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer ("mCRPC"). ... --> the United States ... 1/2 clinical trial, ESSA intends to demonstrate the safety, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PUNE, India , November 24, 2015 ... new market research report "Spine Biologics Market by Product Type ... Type (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion), ... by MarketsandMarkets, the global market was valued at $1.90 Billion ... 2020, at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: