Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced today that Consumer Action, an advocacy organization dedicated to educating underrepresented consumers nationwide, has honored Commissioner Jessica Altman with a Consumer Excellence Award for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of Pennsylvanians who need health insurance, as well as for her active participation in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
"For our 2020 'regulatory/legislative' award category, we wanted to recognize a forward-thinking and consumer-oriented state insurance commissioner," Consumer Action said in a letter to the Commissioner. "We have learned that you have worked to foster a collaborative and responsive regulatory environment in Pennsylvania that puts the consumer—the insurance policyholder—in the driver's seat."
Within the last year, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has:
- Secured a 1332 Waiver, allowing the state to create a reinsurance program that will put downward pressure on individual health insurance market premiums.
- Introduced new regulations and supported legislation to protect consumers' mental health and substance use disorder rights, building on efforts to enforce equal standards of coverage between physical and mental health and substance use services.
- Reclaimed more than $69 million in 2019 for more than 24,000 consumers who had funds stolen or payments improperly processed, or who otherwise needed help collecting money they were due from insurance companies and/or producers.
- Worked with insurance companies to educate Pennsylvanians on COVID-19 resources available to them, testing options and coverage highlights
- Urged auto insurers to be flexible with their customers during the COVID pandemic, including by reviewing eligibility for good student discounts as well as the application of credit scores in insurance rating.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to accept this 2020 Consumer Excellence Award. I am grateful to the dedicated, thoughtful and resourceful individuals at the Pennsylvania Insurance Department; I am accepting and sharing this award with each of them," said Altman. "Providing a healthy regulatory environment that promotes a vibrant insurance marketplace that serves all Pennsylvania consumers is the foundation we stand on each and every day, as we dutifully make decisions and recommendations that we hope will positively impact individuals, families and businesses in Pennsylvania."
With open enrollment around the corner, now, more than ever, due to COVID-19 and the fight for the Affordable Care Act, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is driven by the mission to promote a competitive and robust marketplace and educate consumers to make informed decisions to ensure they are treated fairly.
"Access to health insurance coverage and therefore to care is crucial in supporting Americans through this health crisis. Healthcare shouldn't be a political issue, no American should have to choose between their health or rent, medication or food on their table," said Altman.
The Insurance Department is here to help. If a consumer has any questions or concerns related to their insurance coverage, whether COVID-19 related or not, they are encouraged to contact the department at 1-877-881-6388.