Making Health Care Work

HOLDING HEALTH INSURERS ACCOUNTABLE—CALPIRG is working to make sure health insurers are providing affordable, high-quality care, and not trying to increase profits at our expense.

LOWER COSTS, BETTER CARE

After years of fighting for the right policies and fighting attacks on health care reform, the state's new health insurance marketplace has opened its doors. Covered California is now offering millions of Californians new choices for health insurance.

From the beginning, CALPIRG has worked to make sure the marketplace would use the buying power of millions of Californians to aggressively push insurers for better deals, more competition and changes in how we pay for health care. The plans announced in California are expected to reduce the cost of health insurance for most individuals, while often offering better benefits.

Thanks to new CALPIRG-supported consumer protections, Californians will not be denied coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions. Prices will not vary by gender. Insurers won't be able to set lifetime maximum dollars amounts for health care, and limits on maximum out-of-pocket costs will protect Californians from medical bankruptcy. All policies sold on the marketplace must cover preventive care, prescription drugs, contraception, medical screenings (e.g., mammograms) and other essential benefits, such as pediatric, mental health, maternity and rehabilitation services.

CALPIRG is continuing to work to provide consumers with access to high-quality, affordable care.

  1. Throughout 2013 and 2014, we plan to educate half a million Californians about our new health insurance options and consumer protections, now in place thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Check out our new health insurance guide for young people.
  2. In fall 2012, we launched our Health Insurance Rate Watch project to investigate rate hikes, and to push back against the industry when those proposed hikes are unjustified. See here for a recent victory for California consumers.
  3. We are fighting the high cost of prescription drugs.
  4. We are calling on the legislature to hold health insurance companies accountable for making sure they are reining in excessive prices and unnecessary paperwork, and to give state officials the power to prohibit insurers from increasing rates if they aren't.

Learn more about our priority campaign to end the pharmaceutical industry's scheme to delay cheaper drugs from entering the market:

Issue updates

Media Hit | Health Care

In California, Aetna raises health insurance rates for small businesses

If politicos in Sacramento and Washington are serious about creating quality jobs in America, they should embrace efforts to rein in unsustainable health costs for small-business owners and their employees," said Austin Price of CALPIRG. 

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News Release | CALPIRG | Health Care

Aetna Rate Increases for Small Businesses “Unjustified”

Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Insurance issued a statement today finding new rate increases of up to 21.4% annually for some small business health plans sold by Aetna unreasonable.  Aetna attempted to justify the increases with projections for medical costs in excess of their actual experience and also in excess of federal measurements of medical inflation.

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Media Hit | Health Care

The Sacramento Bee: The Conversation: Stuck in no man's land for health coverage

One man's story of the obstacles he encountered trying to purchase health insurance on the individual market illustrates why the changes coming n 2014 are so important.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Health Care

Health Care Reform Benefiting Californians

To mark the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act we collected stories from our members who are benefiting from health care reform.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Health Care

CALPIRG Supported Law Saved Consumers $127 Million in Health Care Premiums

In 2010, CALPIRG helped pass a law requiring insurance companies to disclose the justification for their health insurance rate hikes. The disclosure uncovered errors and unjustified claims by insurers that saved Californians $127 million on their health insurance rates in 2011. 

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Media Hit | Health Care

Washington Post: Anthem Blue Cross delays premium, co-pay hikes in Calif. for estimated $40 million savings

Anthem Blue Cross, the largest health plan in California, said Monday it will delay and reduce rate hikes that would have hit some 600,000 policyholders at an estimated cost of $40 million.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Sacramento Bee Viewpoints: Reviled health care law already helping people

A year after the passage of the federal health reform, the debate over the law continues to rage on the cable news shows and in Washington. Unfortunately, these fights have given off far more heat than light, with the inside-the-Beltway squabbles being mostly focused on scoring political points and not on assessing what the law is actually doing for real people.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Insurance Commissioner Must Respond to Rate Hikes

 Without strong implementation of new health care laws, the cost of health care will continue to grow faster than income and inflation.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Politico: Obama, allies ready health care blitz

U.S. PIRG will host about three dozen events with members of Congress and elected officials across the country on Sept. 23, touting the new law. Its student groups, Student PIRGs, will have 100 organizers out the same day on dozens of college campuses distributing “The Young Person’s Guide to Health Insurance,” featuring a letter from President Barack Obama.

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We’ve got a chance to clean up the health care industry in California, but with lobbyists lining the halls of the state capitol, we need your support.

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