Pennsylvania regulators make changes to health insurance proposals coming from insurers

Pennsylvania health insurance exchange

Highmark will be overhauling the health insurance plans it offers in the state

Highmark Inc., one of the largest providers of health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, has announced that it will be making changes to the policies it offers in the state. The decision follows action taken by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to reduce several of the rate increase proposals that came from the insurer this year. Highmark had sought to increase premiums for 2016 coverage, but state regulators have determined that rates did not need to be increased by the margin that the insurer wanted to see.

Company plans to introduce new policies that may be more suitable for the state’s needs

Highmark will be withdrawing some plans from the state’s marketplace while also creating new ones that may be more accommodating to consumers throughout the state. These plans are to be offered through the state’s health insurance exchange, which has successfully expanded access to coverage to several thousand of the state’s residents. Several of the state’s insurers offer policies through the exchange, including UPMC Health, which offers the lowest monthly premiums for mid-range coverage.

Open enrollment period will begin on November 1

Pennsylvania health insurance exchangeOpen enrollment for the state’s exchange is set to begin on November 1 of this year. The open enrollment period will run through January 31, 2016, providing consumers with plenty of time to find the best policies that suit their needs. Overall, insurance coverage offered through the exchange, as well as that found in the private market, has become less expensive in the state. According to Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, the state has reduced the rate increase proposals coming from insurers by approximately $81 million.

Insurers seek to raise premiums in order to recover from higher claims payments

State regulators had expected to see rate increases within the 5% range, but some insurers wanted to increase premiums by an average of 25%. Highmark, in particular, proposed a 36.6% increase for one of its plans. The insurer suggests that claims payments have outpaced the revenue it is collecting through premiums by an estimated $318 million margin as of June of this year.

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