News

Pennsylvania to Increase Health Insurance Fees

Cropped SingleCare logo By | December 15, 2015

Pennsylvania insurance rates are set to go up in 2016. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department says these rates are lower than those proposed earlier this year, but the new rates could still have an effect on the bank accounts of people across the state.

It’s that time of year again — time to make sure you have the right healthcare coverage, that is. In October, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller announced the 2016 rates for plans offered on the state’s health exchange exchange. Of the 42 companies offering individual and small group plans, 35 will be increasing rates next year.

Many working Pennsylvanians are expressing their concern, worried that the hikes will put comprehensive coverage out of their reach.

Consumers will need to re-assess their current health plans to avoid paying substantially higher fees, the New York Times reports. Healthcare plans can be added, changed, or renewed until January 31, but in order to have coverage on the first day of 2016, consumers must do so by December 15 — it’s very important that Pennsylvanians know exactly where they stand within the marketplace.

Rising Ranges

There’s reason to believe these increases might not be so bad: Miller was quick to point out that the new prices will actually save Pennsylvanians $81 million, claiming the new prices are “significantly lower than originally proposed,” according to Lancaster Online. This year, premium prices ranged between $211.96 and $292.97 for 21-year-olds. In 2016, the range will be from $198.38 to $295.87, with similar increases in the ranges across other demographic groups.

“I encourage all consumers to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s competitive market and shop around to see if there is a better plan which offers benefits better suited to their needs,” Commissioner Miller said. “All Pennsylvanians have the choice of at least four individual plans in their area, and most have multiple plans from which to choose.”

Why Pennsylvania Needs Increases

When a patient files a claim with his or her insurance company, it’s the insurer’s job to estimate how much that claim will cost. For 2016, they only have two years’ worth of data on which to base their estimates. The data comes from Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), a statewide coalition of over 60 organizations working to insure all Pennsylvanians. In a statement on the Network’s website, PHAN director Antoinette Kraus said these price changes “reflect the reality of the time it takes to fix a broken healthcare system.” In other words, the longer the Affordable Care Act is in place, the more data companies will have, which will lead to more accurate estimations of future costs.

How to Be Sure You’re Covered

To avoid paying higher prices in 2016, Pennsylvanians should shop around on Healthcare.gov for available plans, then compare them to the options available on SingleCare, which offers affordable healthcare on an as-needed basis. SingleCare can help you get affordable coverage, even as a supplement to the insurance you already have. Even if you select a healthcare.gov plan, you can layer on SingleCare on top of that plan to save on treatments your insurance doesn’t cover.

No healthcare? No problem. SingleCare allows anyone to join for free, anytime, and pay less than they would out of pocket. There are no surprise expenditures either — SingleCare is price-transparent, meaning you know the exact cost of each visit or procedure before you even go to the doctor’s office.

Even with rising plan rates, all Pennsylvanians can be sure to have access to all the healthcare they need.

(Main image credit: Jacob Wackerhausen/Thinkstock)