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LETTER: More increases ahead for health insurance
In early June, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, which has the authority to adjust rates, received rate increase requests from the five health insurance agencies that offer plans to the public marketplace in Pennsylvania. Once again, these companies want to increase our premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. No consideration is made for whether or not we could afford these requested increases. This state has a population of nearly 13 million people, many of whom are poor and working-class. One wonders how citizens can afford to pay for health insurance at the present rates, let alone if the insurance is increased next year. The rate increase for 2017 in York County was extremely large. Such things as rent, utilities, food, transportation, other insurances, education, etc., eat up much of our incomes, with the poor hardest hit.
We, members of the York Healthcare Rights Committee of Put People First! PA, and our statewide organization convinced the insurance commissioner to hold a first-ever public hearing last year that was held in Harrisburg. The commissioner not only heard insurance company arguments for rate increases in the morning, but she also heard the stories of many poor and working-class people in the afternoon. This year, realizing the expense of travel and other costs for citizens to go to the capitol for the hearing, we are requesting the PID to hold public hearings on health insurance rates in many local areas across the state to provide easy access for those affected by high costs to share our concerns. We must demand that our voices be heard.