Pittsburgh-area health insurers request rate increases

The Pittsburgh region’s biggest health insurers are seeking rate increases, some up to 13%, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Highmark Inc. is asking for an average rate increase of 11.2% and the Highmark Coverage Advantage Inc. insurance plan is requesting an increase of 9.9%. The Highmark Benefits Group Inc. is seeking an average rate increase of 13.2%

UPMC Health Coverage Inc. is asking for an average rate increase of 7.6% and UPMC Health Options, Inc. is asking for an average rate increase of 6.2%

Highmark Health spokesman David Golebiewski said its requested rate increases are based on the estimated cost of care for Affordable Care Act members in 2024, the first time the company has offered rates under the subsidized insurance plans. Highmark Health cut over 100 jobs in June.

“The rate increase reflects our estimate for increasing medical and pharmacy costs,” said Golebiewski. “More Pennsylvanians are choosing Highmark’s ACA plans for their overall value, with our membership in the commonwealth increasing by more than 30,000 over the past two years.”

Pennsylvania covers nearly 372,000 people on its ACA marketplace, called Pennie.

UPMC officials did not respond to a request for comment. UPMC Health Plan enrollment stood at more than 4.5 million members in May, according to UPMC.

Both Highmark and UPMC are requesting rates higher than the statewide average request of 4.2%, according to the insurance department.

Insurers selling on the state’s small group market are requesting an average increase of 4.1%

Overall, the requested rate increases are tracking below the rate of medical inflation, said state Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys. He said the requested increases are smaller than policy holders saw at the start of 2023.

“Health care costs are rising across the country, but in Pennsylvania, our health insurance market is stabilizing, and our health insurance remains accessible and competitive,” Humphreys said.

The Insurance Department typically accepts rate increases at lower levels than requested. In 2023, the department approved rate increases of 4.3% for Highmark and 4.17% for UPMC, when the average requested rate increase was above 7%.

Rate filings for 2024 health insurance plans were submitted to the insurance department on May 17. Final approved rates will be made public in the fall.

Ryan Deto is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Ryan by email at rdeto@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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