PA’s ACA Health Insurance Rates Go Up

A new year means new rates. This is especially true for health insurance, and more so in the state of Pennsylvania. The ACA Marketplace individual plan costs are going up for PA next year by 4%, according to data. Small group market plans are increasing by about 9.6%. Although there is an increase within the rates, about 19 counties will see more insurance plans to choose from.

“It’s a slight increase, but it’s not double-digit increases,” said Antoinette Kraus, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network. The group helps consumers find plans with state-approved navigators. “Pennsylvania has actually really worked hard to shield consumers from those steep rate hikes that happened in other parts of the country for the past few years.”

ACA insurance increases on an ipad
Thankfully, the increase isn’t that big. It should be something everyone can accommodate.

State Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said more insurers have entered PA’s ACA marketplace, and returning insurers have provided more options and flexibility in their benefits. Altman believes the increase in rates in the state are in line with the average rate increases nationwide. “Our expanding marketplace encourages consumers to shop around and generates lower costs through competition,” Altman said.

The biggest concern is that people will opt for plans that do not comply with the ACA standards such as the 10 essential health benefits: 

  1. Ambulatory patient services
  2. Prescription drugs
  3. Emergency care
  4. Mental health services
  5. Hospitalization
  6. Rehabilitative services
  7. Preventative and wellness services
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Pediatric care
  10. Maternity and newborn care

A company new to the state, Oscar Health, will be an option in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties. This will bring more options to consumers shopping for plans.

And Highmark, another company seeing change, is now offering plans within 14 new central PA counties, including in Fayette and Greene counties. Prior to this, all these counties operated with one insurer. This will put Highmark head-to-head with UPMC Health Plan. UPMC is in 53 counties in the western and central regions of the state.

Mark Nave, Highmark’s senior vice president of individual and small group markets, said Thursday the insurer will be introducing a new ACA plan called Together Blue EPO Silver 2900. This will be available in 2020.

doctors looking at a scan and talking about marketplace rates
Costs for healthcare can build it, so make sure you know which premiums are affected by these changes.

 For a 40-year-old, the plan would carry:

  •  a $349 or so premium
  •  a $40 copayment for physician office visits after two free visits
  •  a $25 copayment for Tier 1 prescription drugs
  •  a $2,900 yearly deductible

“Only about 9,000 Pennsylvanians live in counties that only offer one health insurer option in ACA plans, down from nearly 180,000 people who lived in counties without multiple insurers in 2018,” Altman said.  PA’s governor, Tom Wolf, added, “The state has an uninsured rate of just 5.5%, which is the lowest ever in Pennsylvania.”

With all the new companies and plans coming into the state, there should be expanded health insurance options for many Pennsylvanians. In turn, this would hopefully increase the number of people insured. The Affordable Care Act exchange enrollment period for 2020 coverage is from November 1 until  Dec. 15 to sign up for a plan.

Commercial Insurance Rates are Rising. Here’s Why

No one wants to pay more for insurance, but it is our unfortunate reality. Commercial insurance rates are rising, meaning higher premiums across the board for many businesses. Coverage affected ranges from Business Owner’s Policy to Worker’s Compensation. It is projected that prices will continue to rise throughout the rest of 2019. From underwriting to pricing, these changes come from two major sources: cars and catastrophes.


Auto insurance aside, cars have become a major factor in the rise of our commercial insurance rates. You may think “why does this matter to me? I don’t even own a car.” It matters because vehicles are our main source of transportation, influencing our economic structure deeply. Everything you have as a business owner is brought to you by some type of vehicle.  With more production and vehicles on the road come more opportunities for accidents to occur. This involves more than just passenger cars.

commercial insurance rates for workers operating tractor to clear snow
More work equals more vehicles–and more vehicles means more insurance for companies.

With our economic boost, we see an increase in areas like construction. Motorized vehicles operate in these zones, causing more concern for insurance companies. More work means more workers are needed to operate these vehicles. It only leads to an upward climb in insurance rates. There is no easy solution for the car aspect contributing to this climb. We can only wait for legislation to step in.


We’ve recently experienced a lot of natural disasters. In November 2018, wildfires ravaged California.  These were the worst in years, affecting areas as far north as San Francisco, and areas as richly populated as Malibu. The Woolsey Fire destroyed over 1600 structures (including most of Paradise, CA) and caused the death of three individuals.

Besides fires, hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with annually. In 2017, Texas’ southeastern area, including Houston’s almost 6 million people, were decimated by Harvey.  This storm solely caused $125 billion worth of damage. Not to mention the opioid epidemic, which is heavily affecting our medical industry with 60,000 people dying from it in 2016. All of these things only scratch the surface of the disasters our country is experiencing. 

What Does This Mean?

storm catastrophe and lightning causing commercial insurance rates to rise
Global warming is changing our weather patterns. What could this mean if we continue having bad storms in the future?

This is causing rates to climb between 1-5% for insurance deductibles depending on how close you are to at-risk areas. As people scramble to make sure they are covered more for potential disasters, insurance companies raise their rates. At the same time, claim payouts are in the billions of dollars, forcing the capital in insurance companies to deteriorate. It’s simple supply and demand affecting the market.

While it may not provide much comfort, the reality is that an increase in productivity added to the disaster influx is causing inflation for commercial insurance prices. While it’s mostly liability markets affected, everyone feels the results. 

EZ.Insure is there to minimize situations like these. Your agent will answer any questions you have, compare different plans for you, and even sign you up when you’re ready, free of charge and without having to worry about being hounded by endless calls. To get started simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or you can speak to an agent by emailing, or calling 888-350-1890. EZ.Insure makes the entire process easy, and quick.