Dermody says new law will lower insurance costs for thousands

HARRISBURG, July 2 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and his Republican counterpart Bryan Cutler today joined Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed their legislation to establish a state-based health insurance exchange for Pennsylvania consumers.

“This new law’s going to help more than 400,000 people who struggle to afford good health insurance for themselves and their families. The work to get this finished was a fantastic example of bipartisan action to do something good for people who can use it,” Dermody said.

Consumers who now purchase individual or family health insurance on the federal health exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act will be able to buy the same product from an exchange based in Pennsylvania. The state Insurance Department will be able to manage the marketplace more efficiently than the federal exchange, with the savings invested into an innovative reinsurance program for high-risk patients.

“This is going to result in lower health insurance premiums for thousands of state residents,” Dermody said.

He noted that because the new state entity will be a full partnership with the federal government, it requires no new taxes or assessments.

Dermody praised the bipartisan effort which led to Wolf signing the new law today and thanked Republican Leader Cutler for teaming with Dermody to push the bill through quickly in June.

He said Reps. Tony DeLuca and Tina Pickett, the chairs of the House Insurance Committee, also played instrumental roles in moving the bill forward.

“Perhaps the most important partner in this effort was the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman,” Dermody said. “Their expertise about the insurance market allowed us to design this Pennsylvania-based exchange that will work best for our consumers.

“It’s a bipartisan solution to protect people’s health and make the dollars we spend on health care here in Pennsylvania go much further,” Dermody said.

The new law took effect with Wolf’s signature today.