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 Meet the Insurance Commissioner

Jessica Altman.jpg

Jessica Altman was appointed Acting Insurance Commissioner on August 19, 2017 and unanimously confirmed on March 20, 2018. In this position, Altman is charged with the responsibility of regulating the Commonwealth’s insurance marketplace, overseeing licensed agents and insurance professionals, monitoring the financial landscape of companies doing business in Pennsylvania, educating consumers, and ensuring residents are treated fairly. In this role, her top priorities have been consumer protection and education, and ensuring Pennsylvania’s insurance markets are meeting the needs of consumers.

Using her previous experience and commitment to protect the Affordable Care Act, in Pennsylvania, she has worked tirelessly to drive the uninsured rate down to 5.5%, the lowest in state history. Through Governor Wolf’s leadership, the administration was able to work across party lines to pass House Bill 3, now Act 42, creating a state-based health insurance exchange and a reinsurance program that collectively will provide the over 400,000 Pennsylvanians who purchase individual health insurance a savings on their premiums in the future. Pennsylvania’s state-based exchange is expected to be fully implemented for coverage beginning on January 1, 2021.

The Wolf Administration is dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania and the Insurance Department has been a national leader in enforcing mental health parity laws through market conduct examinations. Further, the Insurance Department entered an agreement with commercial insurers in Pennsylvania to ensure patients have unrestricted access to medication-assisted treatment for an opioid addiction and align prior-authorization processed for opioid prescriptions to protect patient health and safety.

Commissioner Altman has continued the work of her predecessor in recognizing the significant flooding that has impacted Pennsylvania’s communities outside of flood hazard areas. The Department created a one-stop flood webpage to educate residents on the importance of flood insurance, how to file a claim, and what to do after a storm. She aggressively pushed for private sector insurance to be included in the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program bill in Congress, after recognizing the number of private market flood insurance policies in the state jumped 72 percent in one year. As a result of her leadership and dedication to educating consumers, the private flood insurance market policies went from 1,500 in 2016 to 8,950 in 2019.

In 2018, Commissioner Altman worked closely with the Pennsylvania legislature to enact tougher annuity suitability standards to better protect consumers and seniors. Act 48 requires agents and insurance companies selling directly to consumers, to gather all financial information to determine whether an annuity is suitable for the consumer. The act also requires licensees to have continuing education on products specific to annuities. With this in place, the insurance department is also able to better hold insurance companies and agents accountable for inappropriate annuity sales practices.

In addition to her commitment to Pennsylvania, Commissioner Altman is an active member of multiple national organizations. She is privileged to serve as chair of the Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee and co-chair of the Long-Term Care (B/E) Task Force for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Health Care Access & Finance Steering Committee of the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Altman served as the Chief of Staff for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. In this role, she oversaw policy initiatives for the agency, and coordinated with other state agencies and external groups. Before coming to the Insurance Department, Ms. Altman worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, where she developed policy and facilitated implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, she served as a policy analyst for the health division of the White House Office of Management and Budget while completing her master’s degree. 

Commissioner Altman has a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science in Policy Analysis and Management, with a concentration in Health Care Policy, from Cornell University.

Pennsylvania is the fifth largest insurance market in the United States, in terms of premium volume, and the 14th largest insurance market in the world. 

The Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner administers the following:

·         Catastrophic Loss Benefits Continuation Fund

·         Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (MCARE

·         Underground Storage Tank Idemnification Fund (USTIF)

·         Workers' Compensation Security Fund 

The Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner is a member of:

·         Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council

·         Children’s Health Insurance Advisory Board 

·         Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund Board

·         Coal and Clay Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund

·         State Worker's Insurance Fund

·         Pennsylvania Employees Benefits Trust Fund Board of Trustees

·         Assigned Risk Plan board member, ex-officio

·         PA Fair Plan board member, ex-officio