HARRISBURG, Pa., April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, along with the CEOs of all five health insurers offering individual coverage in Pennsylvania through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), today sent a letter to federal Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, urging him to work with them to make sure Pennsylvanians continue to have access to health insurance, by taking action to stabilize the individual market.
"Working together over the past year, we have put our market on a pathway to stability," Commissioner Miller and the CEOs wrote. "The most immediate drivers of instability are the weakening of the individual mandate, the uncertain status of funding for the cost-sharing reductions and the absence of funding for overall market stabilization measures. Additional regulatory action should be designed to minimize disruption and instability."
In addition to Commissioner Miller, the letter is signed by Deb Rice-Johnson, CEO Highmark Health Plan, Steve Youso, CEO Geisinger Health Plan, Diane Holder, CEO UPMC Health Plan, Yvette Bright, COO Independence Blue Cross, and Gary St. Hilaire, CEO Capital Blue Cross.
Specifically, Commissioner Miller and the insurance industry leaders ask Secretary Price to keep the Pennsylvania market stable by continuing to make cost-sharing reduction payments. These payments help lower-income Americans, those earning between 138 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or between $16,400 and $29,700 for an individual, and between $33,600 and $60,750 for a family of four, pay for their out-of-pocket medical costs that would otherwise be unaffordable. These costs include deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.
The letter also asks that the federal government continue enforcing the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, so people have meaningful incentives to stay in the market, which improves the risk pools for insurers, helping contain costs. And, the letter asks the federal government to make all payments owed to insurers to stem any further exodus from these markets. The letter adds time is of the essence since insurers will be filing 2018 products just a few short weeks after Congress addresses the government funding deadline.
"With the added certainty these actions will create, we believe rate increases in the individual market will be moderated and consumer coverage options will be preserved," the letter states.
Commissioner Miller notes over 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have accessed coverage through the Affordable Care Act, resulting in more Pennsylvanians receiving coverage than before its enactment and enjoying the benefits of no pre-existing condition exclusions and access to free preventive care services.
The letter concludes by offering for the commissioner and insurers to be resources and partners in discussing thoughtful regulatory changes that will make this market more appealing for insurers to sell in as well as for consumers to buy from.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman- 717-787-3289
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance