Pennsylvania health insurance premium increase appears small in 2022, Commissioner says


Health insurance premiums for people who buy coverage for themselves in Pennsylvania for 2022 will be about the same as this year, and coverage for small groups will increase an average of 4.5%, said Friday. State Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.

People who buy coverage will also have more choices, with residents of some counties having up to six insurers to choose from, and no one having fewer than two choices. In the past, some counties had only one option.

The level of choice – and competition that can lower rates – is the highest in about a decade, Altman said.

People can start purchasing coverage on November 1 during the annual opening season which lasts until the end of the year.

To a large extent, Altman attributed the relatively small premium increases in 2022 and the increased number of insurers doing business in Pennsylvania to the state’s decision to launch its own online market.

The marketplace, called Pennie, replaced the federal exchange put online at the start of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The Pennsylvania version went live for 2021.

Pennie allows people to shop and purchase coverage online while also connecting them to ACA income-based grants that can lower premiums and in some cases help cover co-payments and deductibles.

Altman said about 90% of those who buy Pennie coverage – about 330,000 in 2021 – receive federal help with their premiums.

She said average premiums are 5.5% lower due to the state’s decision to create a reinsurance program that reduces risk for some insurers by paying the claims of some chronically ill consumers and at cost. raised.

Funding for the reinsurance program comes from a surcharge imposed on insurers selling coverage on Pennie, which allows the state to save money by running its own market and federal incentives.

Altman advised the Pennsylvanians on Friday to shop around and compare offers on Pennie, even though they already have coverage through Pennie. She said browsers are available through Pennie to help people choose, and that there are brokers certified by Pennie to provide assistance as well.

She further noted that Pennie is open year round to people who lose coverage for reasons such as job loss or moving to a part of leaving where their current insurer is not doing business.

Information on Pennie can be found here.

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