Rep. Freeman reintroduces bill to make health insurance more affordable with state-offered health insurance for individuals and businesses

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation that would make health insurance more affordable for Pennsylvanians by permitting the State Workers’ Insurance Fund to sell health insurance.

 

The State Workers' Insurance Fund within the Department of Labor and Industry was established by law many years ago to provide a workers' compensation program for Pennsylvania businesses that could not access workers' comp insurance in the private sector. It is only permitted to sell workers' compensation insurance. Freeman's bill would expand its offerings to include health insurance.

 

"By allowing SWIF to offer health insurance, it would make a quality insurance product available to Pennsylvanians at a lower cost than current rates because of its lower administrative overhead, and it would create more competition within the health insurance market," Freeman said. "In addition, by making this available in the market, it would serve as a yardstick by which to measure the fairness of rates charged by private health insurance companies.

 

"Health insurance rates are increasing considerably. I believe that this proposal will effectively bring health care policies back to an affordable range for the average Pennsylvanian. It would offer a less costly alternative to the current private health plans offered today," he said.

 

Freeman said this new ability would not be an extra cost to taxpayers; the offering would be paid for with premiums to health care subscribers and a loan from the SWIF fund, which would be paid back.

 

The bill is H.B. 1966 and is expected to be referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee.