HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new law signed today by Governor Tom Corbett will give the Pennsylvania Insurance Department greater authority to review and disapprove rate increases in the small group market.
"The signing of Act 133 is the first step toward restoring our rate authority and reclaiming control over the regulation of Pennsylvania's health insurance marketplace from the federal government," Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine said. "It also serves as a win for Pennsylvania's small businesses, which previously could not take advantage of regulatory protections and were subject to rate increases that were never filed with the department."
Previously, the department's review authority in the small group market was limited and only applied to a small portion of products. Act 133, which was Senate Bill 1336, expands the department's authority to review proposed rate increases of 10 percent or higher that are filed for small group health plans. The bill maintains the department's full authority to review rates for individual products.
"In order to bring consistency and continuity to the regulation of Pennsylvania's health insurance rates, it is necessary to provide the department with this important expanded authority," Consedine continues. "Additionally, this legislation serves as a prime example of the need for states to maintain control over their marketplaces in a time of uncertainty in the regulation of health insurance as opposed to ceding it to the federal government."
Consedine also thanked Senate and House leadership for their stewardship in passing this legislation that "strikes the right balance between consumer protection and appropriate government oversight."
For more information on health insurance, visit www.insurance.pa.gov and click on the "health insurance" tab. Consumers with questions about their health insurance policies may also call the department's toll-free hotline at 877-881-6388 or call the Harrisburg regional office at 717-787-2317.
Media contacts: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department