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Cigna is the latest insurer to offer individual health insurance plans in Southeastern Pa. next year

Insurers requested rate increases that averaged 2% statewide, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department said.

The Pennsylvania Insurance department on Tuesday released health rate requests for plans sold on Pennie, the state's health insurance marketplace. (Dreamstime/TNS)
The Pennsylvania Insurance department on Tuesday released health rate requests for plans sold on Pennie, the state's health insurance marketplace. (Dreamstime/TNS)Read moreDreamstime / MCT

Southeastern Pennsylvania residents looking to buy individual insurance plans through Pennsylvania’s state-run online marketplace this fall are expected to have a new choice for 2022 coverage.

Cigna, which already sells group plans to businesses and Medicare Advantage plans in the area, filed to sell individual plans for next year, joining Independence Blue Cross, Oscar, and Pennsylvania Health & Wellness, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department said Tuesday.

“Pennsylvania’s strong and competitive health insurance market is in a better position than it has ever been before, and as Pennsylvanians maneuver through the aftershocks of COVID-19, the increased affordability and plan options can provide a pathway to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to get covered,” Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said.

» READ MORE: Health insurance is on sale at a steep discount thanks to the latest COVID-19 relief law

Nearly 330,000 Pennsylvanians have health insurance through Pennie, the state’s online exchange that enables consumers to benefit from federal subsidies.

Insurers filed for a wide range of rate changes. IBC’s Keystone Health Plan East, for example, asked for rate increases of 2.3% to 21.7%, according to a summary of Keystone’s rate filing, with the high end of the range likely affecting a small number of people.

The statewide average for requested rate increases is 2% for individual plans, the insurance department said.

An insurance department spokesperson said in May that the agency expected to publish approved rates next month.

Keystone has 115,580 members and is the dominant plan in the region, covering Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. The five-county total membership in individual plans bought on Pennie, which has been operating for about a year, is 161,572.

Independence is the only insurer that has sold individual plans under the Affordable Care Act since the programs started in 2014.

Cigna, which was founded in Philadelphia and later moved its headquarters to Bloomfield, Conn., employs 1,200 in a Center City office, but next year will be its debut here in the individual market under the ACA.

The company did not provide details about the plans it will offer. “We are excited to help Pennsylvanians make informed choices about their health coverage and look forward to serving our new customers well into the future,” a company spokesperson said.

The American Rescue Plan Act dramatically expanded the subsidies that are available through Pennie and other marketplaces for this year and next year. Before that law was passed, about 20% of customers on Pennie paid premiums of less than $50 a month. Now, 70% of Pennie’s customers were paying less than $50 a month as of July 28, according to Pennie.

The law also extended open enrollment through Aug. 15 for 2021 plans.