I think many people know that Pennsylvania, and in particular western Pennsylvania, is one of the most uncompetitive health insurance markets in the country. It’s a problem that the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission has recognized and is trying to address under Commissioner Joel Ario.
Competition always leads to lower costs and higher quality. Having more meaningful choices for health insurance gives individuals, employers and providers more negotiating power. This forces insurers to compete for customers by adding services, enhancing choices and reducing costs.
Pittsburgh’s healthcare insurance market became more competitive about 18 months ago when UnitedHealthcare and West Penn Allegheny Health System began offering Intelli-series health insurance plans.
Intelli-Series offers a wide variety of health care plans that encompass every recent innovation in health insurance, including health savings accounts (HSA), health reimbursement accounts (HRA), out-of-network options, disease management, preventive care and wellness programs.
Intelli-series enables employers and their employees to select traditional or more innovative plans that combine high deductible, open access insurance with either an HSA or HRA. A high deductible plan is typically the least expensive healthcare insurance option for a business, while the HSA or HRA enables employees to pay for their share of health care with pretax dollars.
Participants in any of the Intelli-series health insurance plans have access to a core network of providers that includes West Penn Allegheny Health System facilities such as Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Allegheny General Hospital and Forbes Regional, and other hospitals including those in the Excela Health System and Heritage Valley Health System. They can also access healthcare services at other regional hospitals and facilities for higher deductibles and copays.
In addition to this extensive local network, participants in any Intelli-series plan can also use UnitedHealthcare’s national network of more than 560,000 healthcare professionals and 4,800 hospitals.
The Intelli-Series is available to employers in nine western Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland.