PA Residents Request Hearing Before Healthcare Premium Increases
Over 500 PA residents from 26 counties sign petition requesting the PA Insurance Department hold public hearings on the impact of premium increases
Nijmie Dzurinko (484) 619-2306
Who: Put People First! PA, a statewide membership organization of individuals and families united for health and dignity.
When: Wednesday, May 25
Where: PA Department of Insurance, Strawberry Square, Harrisburg
What: On Wednesday, May 25, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, headed by Commissioner Teresa Miller, will release preliminary information about 2017 rate increases requested by health insurance companies. This is the first step in a process that will continue through the summer ending in the final approval of new rates for 2017.
In 2016, approved increases of up to 26.7% impacted over 150,000 residents. For example, Geisinger Health Plan and Geisinger Quality Options requested hikes of 40.6% and 58.4%, respectively. Each was approved for a 20% increase. Amanda, a Philadelphia resident with a Keystone Health Plan policy has seen her premium more than double from $80/mo. to $212/mo. over the past two years.
Put People First! PA (PPF-PA), a membership organization of everyday people throughout the state, has talked to hundreds of individuals and families like her for whom rising costs are increasingly making affordable healthcare out of reach.
“We’re going to the PA Insurance Department today to share with Commissioner Miller and her staff the names and hometowns of 500 people who want the opportunity to speak publicly about how healthcare costs are impacting them before any new increases are approved,” Rich Burrill of York, PA, said.
“More people need to be aware of what’s going on. It’s not fair to receive a notice in the mail or your next bill stating that your premiums have gone up when you never got the chance to weigh in,” PPF-PA member Danelle Morrow of Johnstown, PA, remarked. “People are having to choose between paying for healthcare and paying for rent or buying food.”
“We’ve been speaking with the department since September 2015 about the need for a public hearing. We’ve held our own town hall, met with them in Harrisburg, shared dozens of stories and they’ve been very receptive. Now they have the opportunity to step up and increase participation, accountability and transparency with public hearings,” Nijmie Dzurinko, co-founder and member of PPF-PA, said.
Today, summaries of the increases requested by insurance corporations in PA are going up on this website: http://www.insurance.pa.gov/Consumers/HealthInsuranceFilings. The week of June 13, the full filings will be posted, which will launch a period where comments from the public can be submitted by email through July 29. Currently, a public hearing is not part of the process.
Over the past few months, the PA Insurance Department has held public hearings on balance billing — also known as “surprise” billing — and long-term care insurance.