Posted on November 1, 2011 by scjustice
By Wendell Potter
10/31/11 08:53 AM ET
If you have no idea what you’re paying good money for when you enroll in a health insurance plan, there’s a good reason for that: insurers profit from your ignorance. And they’re waging an intense behind-the-scenes campaign to keep you in the dark.
In my first appearance before Congress after leaving the insurance industry, I told members of the Senate Commerce Committee that insurers intentionally make it all but impossible for consumers to find out in advance of buying a policy exactly what is covered and what isn’t and how much they’ll be on the hook for if they get sick or injured. Insurers are quite willing to provide you with slick marketing materials about their policies, but those materials are notoriously skimpy when it comes to useful information. And the documents they provide after you enroll are so dense few of us can understand them. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act | Tagged: Aetna, AHIP, America's Health Insurance Plans, Big Insurance, CIGNA, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union, healthcare insurance, Humana, industry lobbyists, National Association of Health Underwriters, SBC, Stephen J. Hemsley, Summary of Benefits and Coverage, transparency, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Wendell Potter, White House | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 7, 2011 by scjustice
By Kelly Kennedy
WASHINGTON – Beginning Thursday, consumers across the country can click their state on a federal Web page to see if a health insurer has raised its rates, as well as the company’s reason for doing so.
That information was mostly unavailable before, said Steve Larsen, the Department of Health and Human Services deputy director for oversight. Only a few states include rate raises on their websites. Now, however, all insurance companies must file that information with HHS because of last year’s health care law.
The site’s address is http://companyprofiles.healthcare.gov/.
“We are taking a good, hard look at why insurance companies are seeking to raise your rates, why your premiums might be going up, and making sure these decisions are public and justified,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This is just a start, and over time we will be reporting more of these requests.”
The announcement comes after a survey by Kaiser Family Foundation released last week that showed premiums for an employer-sponsored plan for a family of four rising 9% this year. (more…)
Filed under: Affordable Care Act | Tagged: Barclays Capital Equity Research, health insurance, HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, rate hikes, Steve Larsen, Susan Voss, transparency | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 28, 2011 by scjustice
From The White House Blog:
Posted by Stephanie Cutter on April 27, 2011 at 05:40 PM EDT
Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner said Rep. Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare “transforms Medicare into a plan that’s very similar to the President’s own health care bill.” This comparison is deeply flawed. Here’s why:
No Guaranteed Coverage
The Congressional Republican plan privatizes Medicare, ending the program as we know it. Insurance companies would be under no obligation to offer insurance to seniors, so many older Americans could be left with no insurance at all.
The Affordable Care Act preserves Medicare and improves it by making prevention and prescription drugs more affordable, lowering its costs, and improving the quality of care. And health reform extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and helps ensure Medicare will continue to provide coverage to seniors in the decades to come.
Get Older, Pay More
The Republican plan repeals Medicare’s current policy where seniors are not charged more because of their age. Under the Republican plan, seniors could be forced to pay more for their health care every year, simply because they’ve grown older.
Filed under: Understanding The New Law | Tagged: Affordable Care Act, budget, John Boehner, Medicare, Paul Ryan, privatization, privatize, transparency | Leave a Comment »