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Pennsylvania Bills Would Expand Rate Hike Review to All Insurers

Two bills proposed in Pennsylvania could expand the state's ability to review insurance rate increases, as health insurance premiums continue to steadily increase, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report.

The bills have met with criticism from some Pennsylvania health advocates. Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center in Harrisburg, said the law could result in fewer scrutinized rate reviews. Ms. Ward said consumers, individuals and small businesses would probably see higher rates as a result of the law.

State insurance companies support the bill, which they say was envisioned through the federal healthcare reform law. The Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, authorized the federal government to determine which states were not effectively reviewing insurance rate hikes.

Under current Pennsylvania law, only non-profit insurers have to submit proposed increases to the state. The new law would require all insurers to submit small-group rate increases for review. Only proposed increases over 10 percent would need approval before implementation.  

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