Health insurance rates for individuals in New York will increase next year by a weighted average of 14.5 percent and 9.3 percent for small group plans, the Cuomo administration announced.
The health insurance rates announced by the Department of Financial Services earlier this week are lower than the 16.6 percent hike the department approved last year, which were the highest since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014. Insurers in June had requested a 16.6 percent weighted average increase for individuals and 11.5 percent weighted average increase for small group plans.
In a statement, Superintendent Maria Vullo said the rate increase takes into consideration the rising costs of pharmaceuticals and the uncertainty in Washington surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
“DFS has carefully examined the rates requested by health insurers to reduce the burden of excessive health insurance premium increases on New Yorkers while maintaining competitive markets in the face of rising national health care and pharmaceutical costs, compounded by ill-conceived congressional attempts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act,” Vullo said.
The department included an additional rate factor in the event that the Trump administration makes good on its promise to get rid of the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies for insurers. The additional factor was based on information insurers provided the department in May that estimated the potential funding loss.
“DFS is taking appropriate measures to counter the destabilizing actions of the federal government to protect consumers and help steady New York’s health insurance market. It is time for the federal government to act to protect our insurance markets and consumers’ health care coverage, by fully paying the cost-sharing subsidies to insurers, enforcing the individual mandate and addressing the cost drivers of health care including ever-increasing pharmaceutical costs,” Vullo said.
In response to the rate increases, Paul Macielak, the president and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association—a trade group that represents 29 managed care health plans across the state—said that a “key priority” given the uncertainty in Washington regarding health care should be maintaining a stable health care marketplace in New York.
As part of this goal, we are gratified to see a common commitment on the part of plans and DFS to ensure actuarially sound rates that maintain the viability of New York’s robust exchange and protect the availability of consumer choice of plans and products. An equally important—but more challenging—priority is addressing the underlying costs of care and rising taxes, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the state on that effort,” he added.
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