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New York state announces health insurance rates for next year


A state agency has made its decision on rate hike requests from health insurance companies.

The New York State Department of Financial Services says that overall, rates in the individual market for 2021 will increase by only 1.8%, the lowest increase in that category since the agency regained the authority to approve the rates a decade ago.

DFS says the 4.2% average rate hike for small group plans is the second-lowest ever approved by the agency during that period.

According to DFS, some health insurers are reporting record profits for the first-half of this year due to the postponement of elective and non-emergency services. Officials say that any excess premiums that insurers collected must be returned to policy holders under the Affordable Care Act.

Excellus requested a 1.5% increase in the individual market, the state reduced that to a decrease of .2%.

For the small group market, Excellus requested a 4.4% increase, that was reduced to a .9% increase.

MVP Health Plan requested a 6.7% increase in the individual market, that was reduced to 3.8%.

For MVP’s small group market plan, MVP requested a 4.1% increase, that was reduced to an increase of 1.2%.

DFS says that the continued rise of health care costs is the main driver of premium rates and drug costs account for the largest share of medical expenses.

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.