Many health insurers in Pennsylvania plan to use health status information to set rates until a federal ban on the practice takes effect in 2014, according to the state’s top insurance regulator.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Ario says 7 of the 9 largest health carriers in the state say they are using health profiling techniques, such as individual medical questionnaires, to decide how much to charge small group plan sponsors.

The carriers say they support the federal ban on medical underwriting that is set to take effect in 2014 but feel they must continue to use the techniques until the ban take effect, Ario told members of the Pennsylvania House Insurance Committee today during a hearing Pittsburgh, according to a written version of his remarks provided by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

State lawmakers need should keep health carriers from using profiling to drive older, sicker small groups out of the market, Ario says.

“The best solution would be early implementation of the 2014 reforms,” Ario says.

Pennsylvania House Bill 746, which is awaiting action by the Senate, would prohibit health profiling, put strict limits on rate increases and give the Pennsylvania department strong rate review authority, Ario says.

-ab