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NY health insurers file rate increase requests

Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, and MVP Health Care, two of the insurance companies serving a number of Rochester area customers are among the firms filing requests for rate increases for next year.

According to the NYS Department of Financial Services, Excellus has requested a 4.2% increase for the individual market and a 6.8% hike for the small group market.

In its filing, Excellus says among the factors contributing to the proposed rate hikes is the cost of health care services, equipment and prescription drugs. Excellus also notes that while there has been substantial savings over the years with greater use of generic medications, there is also another trend now with a rising number of brand name drugs that have no generic alternatives.

Excellus says its rates are also impacted by a fee which supports the federal Affordable Care Act, noting that the fee was suspended for 2019 rates, but which is returning next year.

MVP Health Care is proposing a 6.5% increase for the individual market and 8.5% for the small group market.

In its filing, MVP says that rates are increasing due to the rising cost and utilization of medical service and prescription drugs as well as changes to federal government taxes and assessments.

Crain’s New York Business notes that New York health insurers are seeking more moderate premium hikes in 2020 compared to their requests a year ago. The newspaper says that the lower requests reflect a stabilizing ACA market.

A spokeswoman for the state Health Plan Association told Crain’s that insurance companies have worked to control costs, which have been driven up by rising prescription drug prices and state mandates that require coverage of certain services. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.