Rep. Bizzarro applauds committee passage of insurance exchange bill

Would allow commonwealth to create its own insurance exchange

HARRISBURG, June 5 – The House Insurance Committee today unanimously passed legislation that would help stabilize premiums and benefit Pennsylvania’s consumers insured under the Affordable Care Act through the creation of a state insurance exchange, according to state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie.

Bizzarro, a member of the House Insurance Committee and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said that by restoring Pennsylvania’s autonomy in overseeing the state’s private health insurance market, the bill would bring clear benefits to consumers with no added burden to taxpayers.

“This is a great step toward bringing state sovereignty back to Pennsylvania’s insurance market,” Bizzarro said. “Insurance exchanges are the means by which plan choices, rate comparisons and other key information is delivered to consumers. Moving the federal government out of the equation and permitting the commonwealth to take control of that process stands to benefit consumers, stabilize rates, and ensure that our residents receive more meaningful choices – all without any added costs to taxpayers.”

Bizzarro added that the bill would also permit the commonwealth to apply for a waiver to create a reinsurance program designed to drive down premium increases in the individual market.

“Reinsurance programs have allowed insurers to lower the prices on their products by removing some of the risks,” Bizzarro said. “States such as Maryland, which have implemented these programs, have not only averted massive rate hikes but have actually seen premiums decrease. I’m hopeful the commonwealth would see similar benefits.

“I’m extremely encouraged by the committee’s action, which will move this bill to the House for consideration and vote. We’re one step closer to providing the state’s insurance consumers better, cost-efficient choices.”