Pennsylvania Adopts New Measures to Promote Equity in Insurance

EquityImage by Jonathan Rolande

PENNSYLVANIA — In a bid to promote diversity and equity, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) has revised its regulations to allow insurers to ask applicants to voluntarily provide demographic data on insurance applications. The amendment, affecting Chapter 89 of Title 31 in the Pennsylvania Code, is aimed at identifying and addressing disparities within the Commonwealth’s insurance marketplace.

“PID remains committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recognizes there is still work to be done,” said Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys. He added that health insurers can play a critical role in helping the Commonwealth identify better practices and pathways to healthcare equity.

The revised regulation allows life, accident, and health insurers to collect voluntarily disclosed demographic data on insurance applications. The intention is to use this information to promote health equity. However, it’s important to note that unfair discrimination remains prohibited, and insurers cannot use the collected demographic data for underwriting or eligibility determinations. The amendment underscores the department’s commitment to maintaining a fair and equitable insurance marketplace for all Pennsylvanians.

The PID has consistently communicated with insurers about equity issues and their effects on health insurance. These dialogues have resulted in valuable feedback from the industry, including requests from insurers to collect demographic data from members willing to provide it. This data is seen as crucial for enhancing regulatory frameworks and improving services for underserved communities.

As part of the updated regulatory measures, insurers are required to inform applicants that answering demographic data questions is optional. They must also explain why the data is being collected and how it will support efforts to provide equitable coverage.

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For consumers who believe they have been subjected to unfair discrimination or have questions or complaints about their insurance, health plan, or a denied claim, the PID encourages them to contact the Insurance Department Consumer Services Bureau.

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