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ND Insurance Commissioner files lawsuit against Pennsylvania long-term care insurance company

Jon Godfread, ND Insurance Commissioner
ND Insurance Department
Jon Godfread, ND Insurance Commissioner

Godfread says the firm tried to skirt North Dakota laws and unfairly impose rate increases on consumers.

North Dakota’s Insurance Commissioner is suing Pennsylvania’s Insurance Commissioner for their role in the Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, or SHIP’s undercutting of what was promised to their policyholders.

SHIP provided long-term care insurance to citizens across the United States, including 317 residents in North Dakota. SHIP has since gone into “rehabilitation,” and North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread says he suspects the company is insolvent. In order to recoup costs, Godfread says officials in Pennsylvania have attempted to impose rate increases and benefit reductions across the board, without Commissioner approval.

"In the long run, what they're really trying to do is usurp North Dakota law. And we have a process that's been in place since statehood, really, on how these rate filings are handled and how we get to review these rates and protect our consumers from potentially egregious rate increases."

Godfread says he’s filing the suit to protect consumers in North Dakota, but also wants to avoid setting a bad precedent.

"SHIP may be a smaller insurance company in terms of North Dakota consumers, but we're really trying to protect that precedent against the next potential insolvency that could be from a larger company that could affect more consumers."

Godfread says some SHIP policyholders in North Dakota had rate increases of 400 percent.