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Progressive Community

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America's Progressive Community

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2010
1:36 PM

CONTACT: US PIRG

Phone: (202) 546-9707

Consumer Advocates Urge Tight Check on Insurance Companies

WASHINGTON - May 19 - A national consumer advocacy group urged Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to make the most of new consumer protections for health insurance consumers in comments submitted on May 14 and released on Wednesday.

“If implemented well, these new consumer protections will mean that families, who have long faced skyrocketing rates and the threat of coverage denials, will find some measure of control returning to their health and finances,” explained Larry McNeely, Health Care AdvocateU.S. Public Interest Research Group. for the

U.S. PIRG’s recommendations come in response to requests for public comment from the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies on how to implement the recently enacted two key provisions of the federal health reform law. 

The first set of recommendations (PDF) pertains to new federal standards requiring insurers to dedicate a certain percentage of their premiums to medical purposes, not administrative expenses or corporate profits. 

The second set of recommendations (PDF) focuses on a new procedure whereby the federal government gathers information on and reviews unreasonable proposed rate hikes by insurers across the country.

The leading insurance industry trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has also weighed in on the proposed regulations in comments (PDF), also delivered on May 14.

“AHIP wants to write in loopholes so big you can drive a truck through them,” commented McNeely, “but we’re confident that this Department of Health and Human Services knows that letting up the pressure on the insurance industry would only hurt the American consumer.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.



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