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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.”