Health Insurance

New York State has cut many of the  health insurance increases proposed earlier this year by insurance companies.

Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo says that the Department of Financial services has reduced health insurers’ 2019 requested rates for the individual market overall by 64%. The rates for small group plans were cut by 50% overall.

What is going on with CHIP? The Children's Health Insurance Program has been widely discussed as a potential victim of budget cuts in Washington. What exactly is CHIP, and whom does it serve? What kind of impact should we expect if the program is cut?

The Washington Post and NPR have tried to lay out the particulars, dispel myths, and explain what kind of timeline the program is on. Meanwhile, celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel have taken up the cause, saying that millions of special-needs children are at risk.

We break it down with our guests:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children's Hospital
  • Dr. Steve Cook, associate professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children's Hospital

The state has fined MVP Health Plan and MVP Health Insurance $200,000 for incorrectly applying cost-sharing to members’ claims and improperly denying some claims for preventive healthcare services.

The NYS Department of Financial Services says that MVP, which has a large presence in the Rochester area, has agreed to pay the fine and correct processing procedures. The companies have also agreed to make restitution including interest.

The restitution totals about $9,000 for 356 of MVP’s customers. The violations happened between 2011 and 2013.

(AP & WXXI News) New York regulators have approved health insurance rates for 2017, hiking premiums about 8 percent for small group plans and almost 17 percent for individual plans. 

The Department of Financial Services said rising health care costs and the federal reinsurance program's termination are pushing up rates. The approved increases overall are about one-fourth less than what insurers' originally proposed. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP & WXXI News)  New York health insurers have proposed premium increases averaging 17.3 percent for next year in the market for individuals and 12 percent for small groups. 

The Department of Financial Services often reduces proposed increases before approving them. Approved rates are expected in early August. 

The amounts posted Wednesday by the department are averages for an insurer's various plans, including those offered on the New York Health Exchange. 

Mothers of young men and women addicted to heroin are frustrated with the way insurance companies view the plights of their children. A growing group of mothers is arguing for more consistent coverage from insurance companies, as their children try to overcome their addictions and save their own lives.

The moms have put together a community forum to help family members deal with the industry. On Connections, they share their struggles while we discuss options for families in need.

Our guests include parents Donna Rose, Kathy Miller, Becky Baker, and Avi Israel

ALBANY (AP) A union has sued the state Thruway Authority challenging increased health care costs for about 1,500 retirees.

CSEA says the authority told retirees in December that effective April 1 they would have to pay 6 percent more in personal contributions to their health care premiums.

The union says that fails to honor the obligations to retirees covered by contracts between CSEA and the Thruway.

President Danny Donohue says retirees have earned the right to retire with the benefits promised during their years of service.


Victims of domestic violence can qualify to sign up for health coverage outside of the regular open enrollment period. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people of this during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Nicole Greene is the Deputy Director for HHS’ Office on Women's Health. She says one reason a person would stay in a violent home is to keep health insurance for themselves and their children.

ALBANY (AP) New York's health exchange reports connecting 2.1 million residents to health coverage following its second open enrollment period, including 89 percent who said they were uninsured when they applied.

Exchange Executive Director Donna Frescatore says the second year's enrollment built on the first year's base.

The Rochester Business Alliance's 2014 Health Benefits Survey is out and it shows that more employers are offering high deductible health plans. What does this mean? We'll discuss this with Eric Bond, CEO of Bond Financial Network and an RBA member.

Then we talk with Daniel Castro, the director of Center for Data Innovation about how poor quality data can disadvantage poor and underrepresented communities.