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- Ensuring Access: UPMC and Highmark
Insurance Dept Denies Ratepayers Public Hearing, Grants Highmark Their Rate Hike
Thousands of you drafted emails, signed petitions, called and showed up in person to ask the Insurance Department for a real, public investigation into Highmark's proposed rate hike on the Special Care plan.
PHAN activists pushed back against the proposed 9.9% hike so much so that Highmark immediately felt the pressure and changed their request to a 4.9% increase.
Numbers, percentages, dollars and cents - that's not what we were fighting for.
You have to make less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Line (about $20K/yr) to purchase the Special Care plan which is overpriced and offers only dangerously limited coverage.
Last year, Highmark's surplus increased by nearly 10%. They made enough extra cash to pay out bonuses to their top executives, pay their CEO $3 million and spend tens of millions more on advertising and lobbying.
So why is it that they need to raise rates on working Pennsylvanians who are already struggling to make the pricey monthly premium?
We don't know. We can't know, because once again Pennsylvania's Insurance Department is handing over to Highmark exactly what they asked for without first launching a real, public investigation.
We want hearings! When an insurance companies proposes a rate hike in other states, there is a hearing where the company needs to prove the hike is necessary and justified. Often times there is a consumer advocate.
These are the types of consumer protections that help keep insurance affordable. There are some good ones in the Affordable Care Act that help, too, like the Medical Loss Ratio which mandates that 80-85% of your premium dollars must be spent on actual care.
But, Pennsylvanians deserve the same protections that folks in other states have. Call your legislators in Harrisburg and tell them you're ready to see them enact stronger rate protections for both individual consumers and small business owners.
Health insurance is too important and too expensive to allow insurance companies to raise rates without reason.