Health Insurance Rate Watch Project
OSPIRG’s Health Insurance Rate Watch Project pushes health insurers to do more to cut waste and focus on prevention before they raise premiums.
Cutting waste from insurance premiums
Health care still costs more than it should. One study estimates that in 2009, $765 billion, or one-third of all health care spending, was wasted on things that did not make us healthier.  Some of that estimated waste included:
- Overinflated medical prices: $105 billion in waste. Recently, hospitals have been caught charging outrageous prices, such as $1000 for one toothbrush and $140 for a single Tylenol. 
- Duplicative treatments: $8 billion in waste. This includes the extra costs of having to get the same x-ray or MRI twice because health care is poorly coordinated.
- Excessive administrative costs and paperwork: $190 billion in waste.
Far too often, insurers simply pass those costs along to us in the form of higher premiums.
So OSPIRG pushes back to make sure health insurance companies do more to cut waste before they raise premiums. Close scrutiny of rate hike proposals already helped cut over 179 million dollars from health insurance premiums in Oregon.  Now we want to make sure that insurers do even more to bring down costs: by focusing on keeping patients healthy instead of only paying for treatments once they get sick; actively negotiating for better deals from hospitals; and doing more to cut waste.
Unfortunately, some health insurance companies are spending millions to maintain their influence in Salem. But when we’ve brought public pressure to bear on unjustified rate increases, we’ve seen results, so join us!
 OSPIRG Foundation, September 2014, Accountability in Action.
Learn more about Oregon's health insurance rate review process and sign up to get notified about major rate proposals at the Oregon Insurance Division's consumer-friendly website, www.oregonhealthrates.org
In 2018, OSPIRG helped pass a prescription drug price transparency program in order to better understand why prescriptions cost so much and to protect consumers from unexpected price increases. Now in its second year, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services released the results from 2020 reporting. Here are some key takeaways:
Oregon has passed legislation that requires a plan for the implementation of a public option for health care, and requires proof of reduction of consumer costs before medical consolidations. OSPIRG applauds this and other progress state lawmakers have made for the public interest.
An OSPIRG report revealed that 40 percent of Oregon voters have avoided treatment because of health care costs in the past year — and many have suffered worse health outcomes as a result. Now, Oregonians are ready for a change in how they get their health care and many are in favor a public option.
OSPIRG has launched Voices for Better Care, a website dedicated to those across the Beaver State who share our goal of improving the quality and value of Oregon health care. Stories shared on the site highlight common problems, such as high prescription drug costs or expensive insurance premiums, that personally affect thousands of Oregonians.
For those who receive medical treatment at a hospital or emergency room within their insurance network, surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers are costly, unfair and surprisingly common. That's why OSPIRG has launched a consumer education campaign on what surprise medical bills are and what rights and protections Oregonians have.
Your donation supports OSPIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.