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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Pennsylvania exchange attracts eight carriers

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HARRSIBURG, Pa. (AP) — Subsidiaries of eight companies are signaling interest in selling health insurance policies through Pennsylvania’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange, state insurance regulators said Thursday.

The interested companies include all four of Pennsylvania’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers, as well as Aetna Inc., UPMC, Geisinger and Aetna’s newly acquired Coventry Health Care unit. Their proposed policies include individual and small group plans, the state insurance department said.

The proposed plans are spread across the levels of coverage, referred to as bronze, silver, gold, platinum and catastrophic plans. They offer a range of premiums, deductibles and co-pays that depend on variables, such as how many doctors are included in the network. However, some of the proposed plans will only be available for purchase in certain counties, officials said.

Two major commercial insurers with a presence in the state, United Healthcare and Cigna, were not on the list.

Officials refused to reveal how many policies the companies are proposing and said they would not share details of the policies being proposed.

None of the plans have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a necessary step before one can be sold in the marketplace, said department spokeswoman Melissa Fox. The federal government will run Pennsylvania’s marketplace after Gov. Tom Corbett declined to do so.

State insurance officials reviewed the proposed plans to ensure they comply with Pennsylvania insurance laws and regulations, Fox said.

The new insurance marketplaces, which are open for enrollment Oct. 1, will allow individuals, families and small business owners to compare different private health insurance plans. Many will get financial help: Families of four earning up to about $94,000 and individuals earning up to about $46,000 can receive federal tax credits paid directly to the insurers to help offset premium costs. The less a person makes, the more the government will pay.

People cannot get the financial help if they are eligible forMedicare or Medicaid. They also cannot get the help if they are offered coverage through their employer, unless that coverage does not meet certain standards or it costs more than 9.5 percent of their income to purchase it, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Under the law, Washington will run marketplaces for states that can’t or won’t set up their own, including Pennsylvania.


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