Study: PA fifth-lowest costs for plans offered through the Affordable Care Act

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Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller announced today that a newly released national study finds that Pennsylvania has the fifth-lowest cost among all states for the most popular individual health care plans, known as silver plans, offered under the Affordable Care Act.

“I am thrilled that Pennsylvania has become a national leader for health insurance accessibility and affordability,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “My administration has worked hard to ensure that Pennsylvanians can receive the best care and coverage for their needs. This success for our consumers is extremely encouraging.”

“My top priority in reviewing rates proposed by insurers last year was the impact rate increases would have on consumers, to fulfill Governor Wolf’s plan to make health insurance more accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians,” said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.  Commissioner Miller reduced the proposed rates by nearly $81 million before approving the health plan rates in October.

The study released today was done by GOBankingRates.com, and compares several factors of each state’s lowest-cost silver plans.  These factors include the plan’s monthly premium, the deductible consumers pay, the emergency care copay, and the copay for care from a primary physician.  Commissioner Miller said including more factors than just a plan’s monthly premium is important, because this more accurately reflects a consumer’s total out-of-pocket costs.

The study says one of the key factors in the health care plans costs appears to be competition among insurers, which is another of the goals Commissioner Miller had when reviewing the proposed rates.

“Every Pennsylvanian has a choice of at least four health insurance plans from which to choose, and most residents have more choices,” Commissioner Miller said.  “I believe maintaining Pennsylvania’s vibrant and competitive health insurance market provides consumers with good options among plans, and keeps costs lower.”

The open enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act runs through January 31st.  Pennsylvania residents can see what plans are available, and what each plan costs, by visiting www.healthcare.gov.  To help consumers better understand how to shop for health coverage, the Insurance Department developed a shoppers guide and video.  These are available on the department website, www.insurance.pa.gov, by clicking on “Health” under Top Pages.

The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance.  Tax penalties for not having coverage increase significantly this year, to $695 of 2.5 percent of an individual’s income, whichever is higher.