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Author Topic: Double Digit rate increases under ObamaCare in New York on the way.  (Read 62 times)
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« on: July 03, 2014, 06:54:04 AM »

Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal.

The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent.

Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.

The even larger MVP Health Plan, with nearly 33,000 customers, is seeking a 19 percent boost.

While a number of smaller plans put in for lesser increases or, in a number of cases, decreases, Health Republic Insurance of New York — the largest on the exchange with more than 68,000 members — requested a 15.2 percent increase for individual plans.

The proposed rate increases call into question one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act — curbing runaway health-care costs.

In some letters to customers, insurers cited requirements in ObamaCare as contributing to the proposed rate increases.

“Our goal in pricing is to match expected medical spending — including medical costs, utilization and mandated coverage — with premiums. Other factors include plan design and new taxes and fees,” said Maria Gordon Shydlo, a spokeswoman at UnitedHealthCare.

The Rye-based health insurer wants a 12.5 percent increase for small group plans, but a decrease of 2.4 percent for individual plans.

The overall rate hike sought by insurers, which includes those both on and off New York’s health exchange and those serving either small groups or individuals, was 13.2 percent, according to officials at the state Department of Financial Services, which regulates the insurance industry.

They noted that the agency has final say over what the rate hikes will actually be in 2015, the second year of the exchange.

Officials said the submissions are under review and a final decision is expected to be made by the end of August.

“We are going to scrutinize these rate requests very closely in order to protect New Yorkers and ensure they are not subject to any unjustified rate increases,” said DFS Superintendent Ben Lawsky.

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