Pennsylvania takes steps to take control over its online health insurance exchange

Health insurance exchange - Computer - heart - hand - heartbeat

The state is making moves to form its own marketplace instead of relying on the federal government.

Pennsylvania is taking initial steps to take over control of its own health insurance exchange. From 2014 until now, it has been participating in the federal marketplace.

Pennsylvania is hoping to reduce the cost of health insurance by launching its own ACA exchange.

The goal of the move to Pennsylvania’s own health insurance exchange is to reduce the cost of coverage to consumers. The idea is to make a state-based Affordable Care Act marketplace where policies are less expensive than they are on the federal exchange.

Earlier this week, new legislation was unveiled with considerable support in the state House of Representatives. Moreover, the chamber’s Republican and Democratic floor leaders co-sponsored this bill. The bill was clearly seen as quite urgent as a House committee vote was scheduled for the day after its unveiling.

The health insurance exchange bill has the backing of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D).

Governor Tom Wolf backs this bill and his administration said it includes two core changes to lower health insurance premiums. At the moment, there are 400,000 Pennsylvanians who purchase their coverage through Healthcare.gov. Wolf’s administration is pushing for the bill to pass the Legislature, which is Republican-controlled, before the month is through. The goal is to make it possible for the savings to partially begin by 2020 and to be fully implemented by 2021.

The first of the savings changes is regarding the cost of operation for the online exchange itself. Wolf’s administration believes a state-run ACA marketplace would cost less to operate than the federal government’s exchange. At the moment, 3.5 percent of the premium paid on plans sold over the insurance exchange is paid to the federal government. The total cost to policyholders is about $94 million per year.

On the other hand, the state feels it would be able to operate its own health insurance exchange for between $30 million and $35 million per year,reported PennLive. The difference would be reflected in the amount customers would need to pay to cover the operations costs. The difference would be applied to a reinsurance program that Health insurance exchange - Computer - heart - hand - heartbeatwould reimburse insurance companies selling on the market for certain high-cost claims. The state’s share would be approximately 20 percent to 25 percent of the reinsurance program cost, said estimates released by the Wolf administration.

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