Rep. Costello Introduces Legislation to Stabilize Health Insurance Markets and Ensure Affordable Coverage for Pennsylvanians
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) today introduced H.R. 4666, the Premium Relief Act, legislation that would stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace, provide relief from soaring insurance premiums, and ensure access to affordable coverage by funding Cost Sharing Reduction payments (CSRs) and creating a Patient and State Stability Fund to give states flexibility in how they provide assistance for health insurance costs.
CSR’s lower cost-sharing for thousands of Pennsylvanians who purchase low-deductible, high-quality health insurance through the individual marketplace. The Administration announced in October it would end these payments after concluding the program could not be lawfully funded through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s refundable tax account. This legislation would provide funding for CSRs for 2017, 2019, and 2020. Rep. Costello has been outspoken in his support of funding CSR’s to provide stability in the marketplace.
The Premium Relief Act would also provide immediate certainty to the health insurance market by creating a Patient and State Stability Fund. The Stability Fund is guaranteed through the federal government. This is also known as a federal fallback, and it gives certainty to insurers when setting rates, which will result in lower premiums. While 2018 rates have already been set, insurers will consider this fund before calculating their 2019 rates.
Importantly, the Stability Fund gives states the ability to provide financial assistance for individuals and families who need help accessing non-employer coverage. The Stability Fund can provide funding for copayments, coinsurance, preventative care, maternity care, treatment for mental health disorders, and substance disorders, among other needs. While Rep. Costello supports expanding state flexibility through other avenues, Pennsylvania stakeholders have emphasized the Stability Fund requires less of a bureaucratic process and will be implemented before insurers set their 2019 rates.
To ensure transparency of this funding, states must provide a description of how the funds will be utilized.
“My focus continues to be for Pennsylvanians to have affordable, quality healthcare,” said Rep. Costello. “By allowing states to tailor their healthcare systems to best serve the unique needs of their residents and by bringing swift stabilization to the health insurance market, this legislation will mean access to coverage and lower premiums for hardworking families.”
The text of the legislation is available here.