Wolf Administration Announces Appointees to the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority
August 29, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the incoming leadership of the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority. The authority is a state-affiliated entity that will create, manage, and maintain Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance marketplace. The state-based exchange authority will work to develop and maintain a competitive marketplace, educate consumers on their health insurance options, ensure consumers are treated fairly, identify pathways to lower premiums, and provide resources for those seeking additional support.
Act 42, House Bill 3, outlines the process for appointing authority board members. Four voting members are appointed by the governor, while one voting member each is appointed by the speaker of the house, the house minority leader, the senate pro tempore, and the senate minority leader.
“Pennsylvania is confidently moving towards a state-based exchange,” Gov. Wolf said. “The individuals appointed to the authority bring years of health care experience, consumer knowledge and industry vision. Their diverse backgrounds will allow the authority to work for all Pennsylvanians and help the state achieve its goal of becoming a leader in health care reform.”
- Paula Sunshine, Independence Blue Cross
- Sheryl Kashuba, UPMC Health Plan
- Tia Whitaker, Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
- Antoinette Kraus, Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Speaker of the House Appointment:
Mark Nave, Highmark
“We owe it to all Pennsylvanians to make the system as reliable and responsible as possible,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler said. “I look forward to seeing the commission’s efforts come to fruition as they work to lower healthcare costs and create an exchange that works for everyone in our Commonwealth.”
House Minority Leader Appointment:
Jessica Brooks, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health
“The success of our bipartisan work to make good health insurance more affordable in Pennsylvania depends largely on how well the new exchange authority works,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “I’m very encouraged by the high caliber of people who have joined this effort from the beginning, such as Jessica Brooks of the non-profit Pittsburgh Business Group on Health who is a recognized expert in matters of health care value, access and quality.”
Senate Pro Tempore Appointment:
Todd Shamash, Capital Blue Cross
“The Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority was collaboratively established through legislation earlier this year,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said. “This authority is a significant undertaking and will help to facilitate greater flexibility with implementation of health care programs for residents across our commonwealth. I am pleased to appoint Todd Shamash to the authority, and I am confident that his background and experience will provide good perspective as part of the leadership team.”
Senate Minority Leader Appointment:
Laval Miller-Wilson, Pennsylvania Health Law Project
“The new health care exchanges are going to be a positive step for access and affordability of health insurance for Pennsylvania residents,” Senator Jay Costa, Senate Minority Leader, said. “I was so pleased to be part of the bipartisan, bicameral process to make this happen; insurance industry and consumer input was part of that legislative process and their representation on the board will be important as we move forward.”
The exchange authority also includes, as outlined in Act 42, agency heads from the departments of health, human services and insurance. These are:
- Dr. Rachel Levine, Department of Health, Secretary
- Teresa Miller, Department of Human Services, Secretary
- Jessica Altman, Pennsylvania Insurance Department, Commissioner
“I am incredibly proud to be taking these steps and moving forward with making health care more accessible and affordable for the roughly 400,000 Pennsylvanians buying individual health insurance,” Commissioner Altman said. “I am confident we can provide a better experience for consumers and provide much-needed options to get Pennsylvania covered.”
Additionally, an executive director has been chosen to lead the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority. Zachary Sherman, who currently serves as the director for the HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, will provide the experience and leadership needed to help Pennsylvania move into a state-based exchange.
Act 42, signed into law July 2, 2019, will create an online health insurance exchange operated by the state. The legislation provides for lower premiums and increased access to health insurance in the individual health insurance market by developing a state-based health insurance exchange and a new reinsurance program. The anticipated reinsurance contribution will save Pennsylvanian consumers up to $250 million in annual health insurance premiums.
The state-based exchange will allow consumers to enroll in coverage starting during open enrollment for 2021.