Pennsylvania: Details emerge on their impending move to a state-based ACA exchange

I haven't written anything about Pennsylvania's surprisingly bipartisan decision to break off of the federal ACA exchange at HealthCare.Gov onto their own state-based exchange since June:

After some last-minute drama in one state and a surprising lack of drama in another, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have officially passed bills allowing them to each establish their own ACA exchanges and enrollment platforms, splitting off from the federal exchange and HealthCare.Gov:


Pennsylvania is poised to roll out its own online health insurance exchange to take the place of the one run by the federal government for the state's residents since 2014, saying it can save money for hundreds of thousands of policy-buyers.

The Republican-controlled Legislature gave final approval Friday to legislation authorizing the move, after Gov. Tom Wolf had pressed for the bill's passage this month in the hope that its savings measures can take partial effect in 2020 and full effect in 2021.

Wolf plans to sign the bill Tuesday, his office said.

Update: It's done.

...But Wolf's administration says the state can operate the exchange for less money than the federal government. Currently, the federal government takes 3.5% of the premium paid on plans sold through the exchange, or an estimated $94 million this year.

The state can operate the exchange for $30 million to $35 million and use the savings to qualify for extra federal reinsurance funds to reimburse insurers for certain high-cost claims, Wolf's administration says.

The state's share would be about 20% to one-quarter of the reinsurance program cost, according to Wolf administration estimates.

...Wolf's administration said it believes consumers would see premiums that are 5% to 10% lower than what they would otherwise pay.

Well, it's early December now, and while PA has completed half the move by establishing the legal entitiy needed to operate the exchange, it'll be another year before they're ready to finish the move onto their own tech platform and website:

PA’s A Step Closer To Starting A State-Based Health Insurance Exchange

Pennsylvania’s new, state-run health ​insurance exchange is getting rolling ahead of its launch in 2021.

The commonwealth has chosen a California-based company, GetInsured to run it.

...Zachary Sherman, who heads the newly-created Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority, said the contract with GetInsured will cost around $25 million annually, plus startup expenses that’ll be spread over several years.

“That’s compared to what we currently pay for, which is in the $90 to $95 million range,” he said.

Sherman said the administration chose GetInsured because it has already contracted with other states, like Nevada and Minnesota.

He said the new exchange is expected to save people between five and ten percent every year on premiums.

Well, not exactly...the 5-10% savings is expected to come from the ACA Section 1332 Reinsurance Waiver they're putting in for, which would be partially funded by the $65 - $70 million in savings they expect to see by moving to their own exchange. That's not quite the same thing, but it amounts to it from the enrollee's perspective.