Insurers, consumers debate up to 48% rate increases in Pennsylvania

UPMC, Geisinger, Aetna and three other health plans contended for double-digit increases on individual rates at a public hearing Wednesday, despite consumers arguing the higher costs would force them to purchase inadequate plans or exit the marketplace. 

Six insurers — Pittsburgh-based Highmark Blue Shield, Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross, Harrisburg, Pa.-based Capital Blue Cross, Pittsburgh-based UPMC Health Plan and Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health Plan — pled their cases to Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner, all citing a commitment to quality coverage.

Requested rate increases for individual plans on the federal exchange include Highmark's 38.4 percent to 48.1 percent, Aetna's 17.2 percent, Independence's 19.9 percent to 22.5 percent, Capital's 27 percent, UPMC's 0.9 percent to 16.2 percent and Geisinger's 40.7 percent to 41.2 percent.

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller said she recognized increased healthcare costs have led to payer losses and market departures. Ms. Miller said she hopes to strike a balance between ensuring Pennsylvania's insurance market is appealing to payers but also fair to consumers, some of which are concerned the hikes would financially impede access to care.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is reviewing the rate filings before open enrollment begins Nov. 1. 

More articles about payer issues:
Centene will not bid for Aetna-Humana assets
Cigna eyes ACA marketplaces in Chicago, East Coast
58 layoffs loom at University of Arizona Health Plans

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