Healthcare, Press Release 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.”Gubernatorial Appointments:Paula Sunshine, Independence Blue CrossSheryl Kashuba, UPMC Health PlanTia Whitaker, Pennsylvania Association of Community Health CentersAntoinette Kraus, Pennsylvania Health Access NetworkSpeaker 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, SecretaryTeresa Miller, Department of Human Services, SecretaryJessica 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. SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Wolf Administration Announces Appointees to the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority August 29, 2019
BT, the UK communications giant, is considering a contingent assets deal with its £50bn (€57.3bn) pension scheme as it tries to rein in a growing deficit.In its annual report for 2016-17, BT said it was considering “a number of options” for addressing the scheme’s £7.6bn shortfall as it prepares for its triennial actuarial valuation.“These options include considering whether there are alternative approaches to only making cash payments, including arrangements that would give the BT Pension Scheme [BTPS] a prior claim over certain BT assets,” the annual report said.The report gave no further details, but according to Richard Farr, director at Lincoln Pensions, an employer covenant specialist, there were a variety of options open to both parties if BT wanted an alternative to cash contributions. However, some options were less appealing than others, he said.“The UK network is BT’s biggest asset, but why would the trustees want security over that if that’s what causes a future problem?” Farr said.Instead, the trustees might prefer a guarantee secured by assets not correlated to the UK business, such as subsidiary companies in other countries.“The key question is what value and flexibility can BT obtain from the negotiations and how will the stock market price the impact on BT’s ability to manage its business effectively,” Farr added.Holding assets directly linked to the employer can also reduce a scheme’s annual payments to the Pension Protection Fund, depending on the type of asset and strength of the guarantee.Contingent assets deals are often linked to property, but some employers have found more novel ways of guaranteeing pension scheme funding.In 2013, the Dairy Crest Group Pension Fund struck a deal with its sponsor, Dairy Crest, giving it “a floating charge over maturing cheese inventories with a maximum realisable value of £60 million”.Three years earlier, drinks giant Diageo agreed a joint investment deal with its pension fund to invest in whisky.BTPS’s only direct investment link to its sponsoring employer – according to the annual report – was a £10m allocation to index-linked bonds issued by BT. The annual report did not give any detail about this investment.Any contingency asset deal would have to be signed off by the Pensions Regulator (TPR). Responding to the mooted BT arrangement, Charles Cowling, director at consultancy firm JLT Employee Benefits, highlighted a recent shift in focus by TPR that could see it scrutinise funding arrangements to ensure an adequate balance between deficit contributions and dividend payments.BT is one of the highest-yielding companies in the FTSE 100, according to Morningstar. In the last three financial years, the company paid out £3.4bn to shareholders while contributing £2bn to the scheme in deficit reduction payments, on top of its regular contributions.BTPS achieved a 21% investment return in the 12 months to 31 March, the sponsor reported. However, this strong performance was effectively wiped out by a falling discount rate, which meant the scheme’s deficit still climbed by £2.4bn.“The return reflects strong asset performance across all asset classes, in particular equities and government bonds which increased by 16% and 23% respectively,” BT said.