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 | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Grieving parents & health advocates urge Lowe’s to pull deadly paint strippers from store shelves

U.S. PIRG Education Fund joins Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, and the Natural Resources Defense Council in calling on Lowe’s to stop selling paint strippers made with methylene chloride and the chemical NMP.

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

More Info On Our Testing Methodology for Asbestos in Makeup

Claire’s Stores Inc. incorrectly claims that our testing methods are unsound. Its accusations are misinformed at best, and seem to be designed to distract from the bottom-line: that Claire’s is selling makeup that contains asbestos to preteens.

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

Asbestos Found in Claire’s Kids Makeup

Independent lab results confirm that makeup CALPIRG Education Fund found for sale at Claire’s retail stores across the country is contaminated with asbestos, which causes cancer.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

In Your Face

The negative health effects of asbestos are well-known. Most people may associate asbestos contamination with the workplace or decades-old construction material, but alarmingly, recent media reports have found asbestos contamination in kids' makeup from popular stores. PIRG decided to do its own asbestos testing at an accredited laboratory.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Lead-Free Schools: Steps forward in Oakland but more work to do | Emily Rusch

What could be more basic than providing clean, safe drinking water for our kids in schools? On Wednesday night the Oakland Unified School Board meeting voted to approve a new drinking water policy to help identify and remove sources of lead exposure to kids in drinking water fountains. 

> Keep Reading

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

High Levels of Lead Found in Fidget Spinners

U.S. PIRG Education Fund found fidget spinners with high levels of lead for sale at Target stores across the country. Parents and consumers need to know about these lead-laden toys, especially because we alerted Target and the toy’s distributor, Bulls i Toy, to our findings, but they refused to address the problem. The toxic fidget spinners are still available both in toy aisles at Target stores and on its website. Incredibly, Target and Bulls i Toy defend their inaction by pointing to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) declaration that fidget spinners are NOT technically “children’s products” subject to legal limits for lead.

> Keep Reading

Statement on Walmart’s Decision to Strengthen Chemical Footprint Policy

CALPIRG Education Fund applauds retail giant Walmart for updating its sustainability policy to restrict toxic chemicals in 90,000 products including cosmetics and skincare items, infant products, and household cleaners.

> Keep Reading

Agency votes to begin rulemaking process to protect American children, firefighters from hazardous flame retardant chemicals

Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took three critical steps toward protecting consumers and firefighters from the hazards posed by a class of flame retardant chemicals (known as “organohalogens”). The CPSC directed the Commission’s staff to begin the rulemaking process to ban the sale of four categories of consumer products if they contain these chemicals. Once again, the CPSC has made an important action for consumers.

> Keep Reading

Statement on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

Statement from CALPIRG Education Fund Toxics Advocate Dev Gowda on Unilever Starting to Disclose Fragrances via SmartLabel

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

Parents put Lead-Free Schools Toolkit on their “Back to School” List

With “back to school” in full swing this week, CALPIRG Education Fund today offered a new 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 | Health Care

Cutting Red Tape in Health Care

California’s health care system is broken. Costs are rising faster than either inflation or wages, and wasteful spending is a major culprit. Inefficient and duplicative administrative systems force doctors and hospitals to spend more time and money on administrative support than is necessary, which increases costs to patients.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

The Facts About Comparative Effectiveness Research

As Congressional and public debate over health care reform grows more intense, comparative effectiveness research (CER) has emerged as an unlikely flashpoint of controversy. Opponents’ claims that CER results in the rationing of health care or a government takeover are belied by the true nature of such research: it is simply fundamental scientific research of medical treatments aimed at determining the most effective ways to treat sickness and injury. It is the basis of all advancements in the field of medical science and has been used throughout history to improve medical treatment.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Putting America Back to Work

As the national health reform debate begins in earnest, some pundits have suggested that America cannot afford to invest in health reform. The resounding response from political and thought leaders has been that America can't afford not to. 

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

More Bang for the Health Care Buck

The high cost of health care in California imposes an increasing burden on households, businesses, government, and the state’s economy – a burden made heavier by the current economic crisis.  The money that insurance companies spend on inefficient administration, billing and marketing – instead of medical care for their enrollees – contributes to the high health care costs Californians must endure.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying for What Works

Our health care system is in crisis. Interrelated problems with the affordability and quality of care are undermining patient care and threatening the economic future of American families and small businesses.  This policy primer is intended to help meet that challenge. It examines seven factors which have led to the interrelated crises in cost and quality, and prescribes specific policy remedies to tame costs and restore health professionals’ ability to provide the care on which American families rely. 

 

> 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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