Health Insurance Tips

WE CAN HELP — Our health care policy experts are working to provide you with the resources you need to make the most of new health care consumer protections and tools.

Get The Best Deal On Health Insurance

Looking for health coverage? Covered California, the new health insurance marketplace, could save you time and money. Use our tips to make the most of this new tool.

1. Check out new options at Covered California. The plans include coverage for doctor visits, hospitalizations, preventive care, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions and more.
Online: CoveredCA.com
Toll-free: (800) 300-1506

2. Find out about financial help that’s available. At Covered California, you can find out if you qualify for financial assistance to lower your costs.

3. Use Covered California to compare plans side-by-side. The new marketplace lists your options on one website, and shows what each plan covers.

4. Take advantage of expert help to compare plans in-person, online or by phone. Specially trained people are available in communities across the state to help you apply and understand your options. Find them at CoveredCA.com.

5. Don’t take no for an answer. For coverage starting January 2014, insurance companies can no longer deny you due to a pre-existing condition.

6. Keep in touch. Check for updates on our website, and tell us about your experience. We want to hear what you think so we can spot trends and advocate for ongoing improvements. Contact us.

Health Care Consumer Protections

If you have coverage, you already have protections under the health care law, such as:

  • Children and young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26
  • Free preventive care, including check-ups and vaccinations
  • Insurance companies can’t set a lifetime cap on what they’ll pay if you get sick
  • Rebates if your insurance company spends less than 80% of premiums on care

 Plus, more consumer protections start in 2014, including:

  • Insurers can’t deny anyone coverage for having a “pre-existing condition”
  • No more annual caps on what your insurer will pay if you get sick
  • Insurance companies can’t charge women more than men for coverage

See more information about the health care law, the Affordable Care Act

Issue updates

News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

California gets a C+ for efforts to address lead in school drinking water

Los Angeles – Reacting to pervasive lead contamination in schools’ drinking water, CALPIRG gave California a C+ grade today for addressing the problem, according to a new national report. In the second edition of CALPIRG Education Fund’s Get The Lead Out study, the state showed some progress since its F grade on a similar report card in 2017. The American Academy of Pediatrics, California State PTA, and Compton Unified School district all joined CALPIRG in calling for swift action to ensure lead-free water in California’s schools and daycares.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

CALPIRG Co-Sponsors Bill That Would Ban Many Dangerous Cosmetics

Landmark legislation introduced today would impose a statewide ban on cosmetics that include any of 20 highly toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or hormone disruption. Assembly Bill 495, authored by Assembly members Al Muratsuchi (Torrance) and Buffy Wicks (Oakland), halts the sale of cosmetics products containing toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS in California. The legislation is sponsored by CALPIRG and Environmental Working Group.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Popular weed killer from Roundup found in top beer and wine brands

Many brands of beer and wine sold in the U.S. contain the weed killer glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, according to a new report by CALPIRG Education Fund. In Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, CALPIRG tested 20 beers, wines and hard cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate/Roundup and found that all but one contained the harmful chemical.

This revelation comes on the same day a San Francisco court begins hearing arguments in the first federal civil case over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine

To explore how much Roundup we’re drinking, U.S. PIRG tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup. As we’ve confirmed in this study, Roundup is found in beer and wine. This confirms past studies on the topic, which found that glyphosate is found in almost all adult beverages. For example, in 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even in independent beers. After that study was released, German brewers managed to severely limit the amount of glyphosate used in brewing, and saw marked improvement in a 2017 follow-up study.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New car seats made without toxic flame-retardant chemicals

Car seats are supposed to keep our youngest children safe. But though they may protect infants and toddlers during accidents, car seats have a history of containing toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

That’s finally changing.

Today, a coalition of groups including U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Ecology Center’s “Healthy Stuff” program released test results on car seats in a new report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. The authors collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

CALPIRG Co-Sponsors Bill That Would Ban Many Dangerous Cosmetics

Landmark legislation introduced today would impose a statewide ban on cosmetics that include any of 20 highly toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or hormone disruption. Assembly Bill 495, authored by Assembly members Al Muratsuchi (Torrance) and Buffy Wicks (Oakland), halts the sale of cosmetics products containing toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS in California. The legislation is sponsored by CALPIRG and Environmental Working Group.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Popular weed killer from Roundup found in top beer and wine brands

Many brands of beer and wine sold in the U.S. contain the weed killer glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, according to a new report by CALPIRG Education Fund. In Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, CALPIRG tested 20 beers, wines and hard cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate/Roundup and found that all but one contained the harmful chemical.

This revelation comes on the same day a San Francisco court begins hearing arguments in the first federal civil case over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New car seats made without toxic flame-retardant chemicals

Car seats are supposed to keep our youngest children safe. But though they may protect infants and toddlers during accidents, car seats have a history of containing toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

That’s finally changing.

Today, a coalition of groups including U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Ecology Center’s “Healthy Stuff” program released test results on car seats in a new report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. The authors collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead Found In Water in Half of San Francisco Unified District Schools

Today CALPIRG Education Fund released an analysis of San Francisco lead testing results from the last school year in a new interactive map, finding that half of San Francisco Unified district schools found some lead in the drinking water. “Given that even low levels of lead exposure can cause irreversible loss of IQ, San Francisco Unified School District should take action to get the lead out wherever it is getting into drinking water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG Education Fund.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead in School Drinking Water a Pervasive Problem

With a new school year in full swing, CALPIRG Education Fund today released its 2018 “Get the Lead Out: Back to School Toolkit” to help parents, teachers, and administrators get the lead out of schools’ drinking water.

> Keep Reading

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Weak Medicine

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people per year in the United States, causing more than 23,000 deaths. State governments, the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Comments on the Anthem Blue Cross Proposal to Raise Health Insurance Rates

Anthem Blue Cross has proposed rate increases as high as 24.9% for policyholders in their “grandfathered” health insurance plans that were established before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The rate changes average out to a 16 percent increase for 153,000 policyholders, impacting a total of 238,000 Californians currently covered under the plans. Our review found that Anthem failed to provide adequate justification for this rate increase.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG | Health Care

Top Twenty Pay-For-Delay Drugs

Californians with cancer, heart disease, epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs, according to a report released today by California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and Community Catalyst.

 

 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Comments on the Blue Shield of California Proposal to Increase Small Employer Health Insurance Rates, Effective July 1, 2013.

After analysis of the complete filing – inclusive of the three subsequent submissions – it appears that for the most part, Blue Shield provided sufficient background data for the requested rate increase. However, we note that it took repeated requests for Blue Shield to provide the information necessary to justify the rate increase.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

CalHEERS: Protecting Consumer Data by Developing and Implementing Strong Physical, Technical and Administrative Security Safeguards

CALPIRG Education Fund is pleased to provide recommendations on best practices and standards for the development and implementation of strong physical, technical and administrative security safeguards for the CalHEERS data ecosystem.

> Keep Reading

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Blog Post | Public Health

Is your daily routine toxic? | Anna Low-Beer

Because of a lack of regulation, many cosmetics and personal care products contain potentially toxic ingredients, like formaldehyde and lead acetate. What toxic chemicals might you encounter as you go about your daily routine? 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Victory! Subway Commits to Help Save Antibiotics

Yesterday Subway announced their plan to serve only antibiotic-free meat. Subway announced that they will completely phase out all antibiotic meat by 2025, with antibiotic free chicken made available by March 2016 and turkey by December 2016. This is a significant victory for public health.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Superbug Outbreak at UCLA Hospital | Anya Vanecek

The outbreak of drug-resistant CRE bacteria at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Hospital reminds us that the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria is very real. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Health Care

The Almighty Dollar before Health and Safety of Americans | Jon Fox

A recent op-ed is completely correct in its assumptions that anti-regulations rhetoric from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is incessantly talking about regulations killing jobs and the economy.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, which estimates at least 35,000 Americans die annually from infections that antibiotics can no longer effectively treat.

News Release | CALPIRG

SACRAMENTO – State regulators announced steps on Wednesday to reduce the risks of lead exposure faced by young children in day care facilities across California. In a public hearing, the State Water Resources Control Board agreed to adopt a goal of reducing lead in centers’ drinking water to no more than 1 part per billion, or ppb. The board’s decision represents the toughest action in the country to date on this issue.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

A new analysis of publicly available information from the FDA by U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund finds only 26 percent of a class of recalled blood pressure medications have been assessed for carcinogen contamiantion -- and the majority had some lots with higher levels than the FDA considers safe.

News Release | CALPIRG

Oakland – With school kids “back to school”, and the legislature wrapping up their 2019 session, CALPIRG today released a new free toolkit to help parents, teachers and administrators Get the Lead Out of school drinking water.  With a lack of complete information on lead contamination in schools throughout the state, CALPIRG Education Fund provide this tool to grapple with this serious health threat facing our children.

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

Today, July 1, 2019, is the deadline for schools to test their drinking water for lead under a 2017 law authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. Unfortunately, more than 1,600 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead. Additionally, based on the most recent data available, some schools likely missed the deadline for getting their water tested. 

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Poll: Which of these positive changes do you most want to see in 2020?
More restaurant chains commit to stopping their overuse of antibiotics.
Stop using Roundup, which has been linked to cancer, on our parks and playgrounds.
Ban the worst single-use plastics.



CALPIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.