Wolf Administration urges Senator Toomey to protect Affordable Care Act

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Harrisburg, PA – Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today sent a letter to United States Senator Pat Toomey urging him not to ignore the progress since the Affordable Care Act was passed as the U.S. Senate considers changes to the federal health law.

“The Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation of the American Health Care Act indicates that 14 million people would lose insurance by 2018 and 23 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 than under current law. Let me be clear that a proposal that results in any increase to our uninsured population – be it 23 million or 23,000 – is unacceptable,” said Miller. “Conversations on potential health reforms should focus on improving affordability and access to insurance, not returning consumers to the unsustainable pre-Affordable Care Act world.”

Commissioner Miller also noted progress that has been made to put Pennsylvania’s individual market on a path to stability. Last month, insurers filed rate requests averaging 8.8 percent increases in the individual market and 6.6 percent in the small group market and, based on current filings, all 67 counties will have on-exchange plans that are eligible for financial assistance.

“I cannot pretend that this market has been without its challenges, and unfortunately I had to approve rate increases in the past that were higher than I would have liked. These increases were necessary at the time given the losses our insurers were seeing in the individual market,” said Miller. “Now, this year’s requests show close to what we would expect to see from a stable market based on trends in medical costs. These requests confirm that Pennsylvania’s individual market is on a path to stability.”

Commissioner Miller wrote that Pennsylvania’s five individual health insurers provided estimates of what they would need to request if changes were made to the Affordable Care Act’s enforcement. If cost-sharing reductions are not paid, companies indicated that they would request a 20.3 percent rate increase statewide. If the individual mandate is repealed, Pennsylvanians would likely see a 23.3 percent increase. If both were changed, insurers estimate that they would see a 36.3 percent increase.

“I have long been an advocate for fixing the portions of the Affordable Care Act that are not working as they should. Actions like strengthening the individual mandate, enforcing special enrollment periods, and making insurers whole on risk corridor payments would be positive actions to improve the health of the market,” said Miller. “There is also room for a conversation on how to address year-to-year growth in medical costs and consumers’ concerns surrounding rising out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, but I fear that the conversations taking place in Washington are not focusing on such pragmatic steps at this time.”

To read the full letter, click here.


SOURCE: PA Insurance Commissioner