You are hereHome >
The future of health insurance in Oregon is at stake this summer. The state is in the middle of an ambitious effort to remake health care that holds the promise of creating a better deal for consumers—if it’s done right. How will the state’s Health Insurance Exchange will live up to its mandate to lower costs and improve quality? I recently attended a meeting debating just this question.
A competitive marketplace for health care plans, the Exchange holds the promise of being a game-changer for individuals and small businesses struggling to afford insurance by leveraging our buying power to drive down costs. But as always, the devil is in the details.
Right now, exchange officials are creating the standards that insurance plans will have to meet. That means we have an opportunity to improve quality and accountability for the health insurance industry. High standards will foster better care for patients and renewed focus on prevention to keep Oregonians healthy in the first place. Strong standards can also drive insurers to cut waste, improve affordability and fix customer service problems.
But these improvements are far from guaranteed. At the meeting I attended, consumer and business groups, as well as officials from the Exchange, debated whether Oregon should have standards stronger than the minimal standards included in the federal Affordable Care Act. As Oregonians, we need to come together to build a set of standards that works for our unique state. The Exchange is hearing a lot from health industry insiders during their decision process, and they need to hear more from the broad majority of Oregonians who are struggling with the ever-growing cost of health insurance.
The Exchange will be hammering out all these details in a series of meetings and workgroups this month and next, and OSPIRG will be there every step of the way to advocate strong standards to improve care and reduce costs for Oregonians. Keep your eyes out in July, when we expect Exchange officials will release draft standards for public comment.
But why wait? To let the Exchange know what you think about how they can hold insurance companies accountable, use their online comment form here.
Tools & Resources
Take our quick survey to let us know who your health insurer is, and we'll make sure you're the first to know when they propose a rate hike — and give you a chance to speak up.
Your donation supports OSPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.
Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates, and take action on critical issues.