Today, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) released the approved rates for 2016 health insurance plans in Pennsylvania. Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) begins November 1st and continues through January 31st.
Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network issued the following statement:
“When Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1st, Pennsylvanians will have dozens of quality health insurance plans to choose from. Just like in past years, it’s important to shop around if you want to get the best deal.
The rates announced today reflect the reality of the time it takes to fix a broken health care system. For years, insurance companies made money by not paying for care — offering skimpy coverage that put all the risk on consumers, or denying people altogether because they were sick and needed help. Forcing people to go without coverge for years has consequences: many are sick, and need treatment.
It was never realistic to expect that all the problems in our health care system could be fixed with one law, in one shot. The Affordable Care Act relieved the pent-up demand for care, bringing hardworking Pennsylvanians into a health care system that they were shut out of for years.
The law also gave states new tools to protect consumers from unfair and excessive rate increases. Finally under Commissioner Miller, the Insurance Department is using them. This year, 12 of the 19 companies selling individual plans in Pennsylvania raised rates by less than 10%; the six companies who sought to raise rates by more than 25% had those rates lowered by the Insurance Department, who worked actively to balance the needs of insurers’ financial health and solvency with consumers’ needs for quality plans.
Still, there is more we can do to make our health care system work better for everyone. We can and should do more to bring down premiums and lower what people pay out-of-pocket. New polling, released last week of likely voters in Pennsylvania and other political battleground states, shows that’s what voters Congress to focus on. Of likely voters surveyed, 71% want Congress to improve the law, not repeal it and 58% said Congress should “stop wasting time” trying to repeal the law and instead focus on ways to lower the cost and improve the quality of care.
As we move closer to the start of the third Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, we hope that Senator Toomey and opponents of the law in Congress will move away from their fixation on repeal and work together in finding ways to lower people’s health care costs, whether it’s by taking steps to stop balance billing, requiring more transparency around the cost of care, or limiting how much insurance companies can make people pay out-of-pocket.”
8 in 10 Pennsylvanians are currently getting help to lower their premiums. Under the law, what you pay is limited based on how much you make.
The law protects people from being denied coverage because they were sick in the past, it protects women from being charged more than men, and gives all Pennsylvanians access to important preventive benefits.
Consumers who may be unhappy with their insurers’ rates or offerings have until December 15th to switch to a new plan, that will begin on January 1st.
The Pennsylvania Health Access Network offers free, in-person assistance. Consumers are encouraged to meet with our certified Navigators for help finding a plan that meets their needs and budget. Get answers or make an appointment by calling our statewide helpline: 1-877-570-3642.
RESOURCES FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA INSURANCE DEPARTMENT