7% average jump in Pa. health insurance premiums

Harold Brubaker
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvanians who plan to shop later this year on the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange are unlikely to find shelter from the inflation that has engulfed other areas of the economy, according to a preview offered Monday by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

The insurance department said health insurers requested a statewide average premium increase of 7.1% for individual plans covering 2023, compared with a 2% requested increase a year ago for this year’s plans. Approved rates will be released in October.

Many other states are seeing even bigger requested rate increases, according to ACASignups.net. New Jersey, where insurance is sold at GetCoveredNJ, has not yet provided information on requested increases for 2023 plans.

Most southeastern Pennsylvania residents who buy health insurance on the state’s exchange, known as Pennie, could be spared the worst of the increases. Independence Health Group, the region’s largest insurer, requested relatively small increases in the

2% range for individual plans

currently covering 159,000 people. Insurers with a much smaller presence in the area requested increases as high as 10% in the case of Oscar Health Plan of Pa.

Other insurers in the market are Cigna, which asked for an average increase of 6%, and Pennsylvania Health & Wellness, which requested a 5.94% bump.

Funding uncertain: Looming over the coming open enrollment period, which starts Nov. 1, is the question of whether the federal American Rescue Plan’s increased financial assistance will expire as scheduled this year or be renewed.

Thanks to those enhanced benefits, Pennsylvanians’ out-of-pocket premium costs decreased by an average of 9% for current plans. If that aid is not renewed, coverage for next year might not be affordable for many families, the department warned.

“In 2022, Pennsylvania saw the lowest uninsured rate in history, at 5.4% , thanks in large part to the affordability and access of coverage offered by the American Rescue Plan enhanced subsidies,” acting Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner

Michael Humphreys said. “We cannot afford to slow or lose this progress.”

Nearly 375,000 Pennsylvanians obtained health insurance through Pennie during the last open enrollment period, an 11% increase compared to 2021.

That included more than 35,000 middle-income individuals who for the first time qualified for financial assistance that reduced the cost of health coverage by an average of $252 per month, the insurance department said.