Albany, NY – Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), a statewide coalition of over 170 consumer advocacy organizations, encourages consumers and consumer advocates to weigh in on health insurance rate proposals for 2019. On June 1, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) posted a summary of the carriers’ rate proposals. The insurance carriers claim that about half of the average requested increase of 24 percent is attributable to the recent repeal of the individual mandate.
Consumers should remember that many people receive premium assistance through Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTCs), which limits the impact premium increases will have on some beneficiaries. Consumers should also remember that these rate increases apply only to individual and small market plans purchased through the New York State of Health – people with the Essential Plan or Medicaid are not affected. Finally, consumers should remember that the rate requests are in fact requests, and the amounts could change if DFS does not approve them.
In this area of failure of federal action, HCFANY is calling on New York State to investigate policy options to stabilize the individual insurance market for New York’s consumers, for example, establishing a state individual mandate or increasing premium assistance.
HCFANY also urges consumers to regularly check the DFS website. There is a 30-day comment period from the date of posting for each carrier rate. HCFANY has released a rate review guide for consumers and posted templates, but encourages consumers to tell DFS how premiums affect themselves, their families, or their businesses in their own words. DFS will then review the carriers’ requests and the public’s comments to make their final rate decisions, typically late in the summer or early fall.