Uncertainty around ACA repeal could result in 500k in Pa. losing health coverage
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 01.09.17
(Harrisburg) -- While Republicans in Washington work out a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania's top insurance regulator is concerned the uncertainty about the future will lead to insurance companies fleeing the individual market next year.
More than a half million people would then have to scramble for coverage.
It all comes down to timing.
Insurance companies in Pennsylvania have to make a decision about whether they will offer insurance on the individual market by June.
Those are plans on the healthcare.gov exchange.
State Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller says if companies don't know in the next couple months what Republicans are going to do about the Affordable Care Act, they may just say enough is enough, and leave by 2018.
"Timing is key and I think we talk in the letter about stability and predictability being very important for insurers to view particularly the individual market as a desirable market to participate in," says Miller.
"The more uncertainty they have around that market and around the rules of the game, I think the more likely they are to decide that perhaps it's not a market they want to participate in anymore," she adds.
More than 500,000 people in Pennsylvania are covered through plans bought on the exchange, and most get subsidies to pay their monthly premiums.
Some companies have already stopped offering plans in some areas in recent years, or completely left the individual market. Others have dramatically hiked prices, in some cases.
Miller recently sent a letter to Republicans in Congress that she calls a reality check, reminding lawmakers that the ACA includes many popular provisions, like requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Republicans have not offered their detailed health care overhaul yet.
More than 670,000 low-income people in Pennsylvania are also covered by Medicaid expansion, made possible by the Affordable Care Act.