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NY approves health insurance plan rate hikes for 2023; cuts requested increases by half

Health Insurance Claim Form
Sashkin
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Adobe Stock
A stock image of a health insurance claim form.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has announced rate increases approved for health insurance companies in 2023, and as the state often does, those original rate hike requests have been cut.

But even though the rate hikes proposed by the insurers’ were cut by about half of what was requested, the final increases were still higher than last year.

For the individual market, the insurers requested an average rate hike of 18.7%. That was cut by state regulators to 9.7%.

For the small group market, which covers employers with up to 100 employees, insurance companies requested an average rate increase of 16.5%. The state cut that to a 7.9% increase.

Last year, the individual market average increase approved by the state was 3.7% and the small group market increase approved last year was 7.6%.

The Superintendent of Financial Services, Adrienne Harris, said that the changes made by the state to this year’s proposed rate hike requests has saved consumers and small businesses almost $800 million.

Harris said that, “rising medical costs and inflation continue to put upward pressure on premiums.” She said that with the rate actions announced this week the state is prioritizing the financial wellbeing of consumers while ensuring that New Yorkers have access to a “robust, stable health insurance market.”

In terms of individual insurance companies, two of those who serve many customers in the Rochester area are Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP Health Plan.

For Excellus, the state approved a 10% rate hike for individual plans and 9.4% for the small group market. Excellus had requested a 14% increase for individual plans and a 12.9% increase for the small group market.

For MVP, that insurer was approved for a 10.1% increase for individual plans and 11.7% for the small group market. MVP had originally requested a 19.2% increase for individual plans and a 14.2% increase for the small group market.

The New York Health Plan Association, which represents 29 managed care health plans put out a statement this week saying that the premium rate increases submitted in May reflected the growth in the costs of health care, which are largely driven by significant increase in the prices that drug companies, hospitals and providers are charging.

Health Plan Association President and CEO Eric Linzer said that the proposed rates also reflected the continued impact of COVID-19, including ongoing testing, treatment and vaccination.

He said the association is disappointed with the rate hike requests being slashed, they felt the rate proposals were "reasonable and appropriate" considering the increased costs in health care.

Linzer said the health plan association wants to see state policy makers focus on “measures to address the drivers of rising health care costs.” He hopes New York will work to make information about increased drug prices more transparent to consumers and to also avoid passing legislation that will add to the cost of health care.

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.