New Yorkers have a LOT to smile about this morning! The proposed health insurance rates for the New York Health Benefit Exchange have been released and show that prices on the individual market will soon be dropping by a whopping 50%.
This means that New Yorkers who currently buy coverage on their own, costing more than $1,000 per month in most cases, will be able to save thousands on health insurance next year without having to compromise on quality.
Health Care For All New York (HCFANY) had the pleasure of reviewing the proposed rates for the non-Exchange plans, which were released last month, and found the average Silver-level plan to be about $500 per month. These same plans sold on the Exchange will be even more affordable for New Yorkers who qualify for premium tax credits to further lower costs. You can read HCFANY’s comments on the proposed non-Exchange plans by clicking here.
The premium rates for all health insurance plans in New York can be found on the Department of Financial Services website. As with the annual rate review process, everyone is encouraged to look over the proposed rates and supporting documentation and submit comments online. You can find the proposed rates by clicking here.
The New York Times has produced stellar coverage of this phenomenon in an article out today, “Health Plan Cost for New Yorkers Set to Fall 50%.” They have also posted a great document that shows all of the proposed rates for Exchange plans. You can find that document by clicking here.
There is an article out in the Associated Press that seems to be raising a lot of eyebrows across the internet this morning. Titled, “Like your insurance? You may be losing it,” it explains how a lot of folks who currently have limited benefit health coverage may have to upgrade this coming fall.
This information may seem to fly in the face of what many folks have been told about Obamacare: “If you like your coverage, you can keep it.” While this may still hold true for a lot of folks, the devil – as always - is in the details.
Most health plans that existed before the ACA was signed in March of 2010 were eligible for grandfathered status. This means that they are exempt from having to provide most (but not all) of the comprehensive benefits and consumer protections that the ACA requires. But, if in the past three years or so, the insurer or the employer have made significant changes to a plan’s benefits or how much members have to pay, then the plan would have lost its grandfathered status.
So, there you go.
This should not be cause for panic. Chances are, if your current health plan is a good one, then it probably meets the requirements set forth in the ACA (or has already changed to do so), in which case you are fine. Those who may have to get a new health plan are the folks with non-grandfathered plans that have not changed to meet the new requirements.
This is not a bad thing. Yes, folks might be confused about it at first. Yes, some folks will end up having to pay more. But the new benefits and consumer protections will mean better health insurance and greater financial protections for you when you get sick. And you will get sick.*
The important thing to keep in mind here is that people need to be vigilant of their health insurance. Talk to your HR department and find out if your plan is changing (which may or may not be due to Obamacare). If you buy coverage on your own, just keep an eye out in the mailbox for a notice from your insurer or the Department of Financial Services. If your insurance is being discontinued, and you need help figuring out your options, you can always get free help from Community Health Advocates by calling (888) 614-5400.
*I use the term “sick” catch-all term for any illness or injury (even good ones like childbirth) - physical, mental or dental - or even just plain growing old.
Today’s post comes from guest blogger Maryanne Tomazic, Field Coordinator at Raising Women’s Voices.
When the New York Health Benefit Exchange opens for enrollment this October, we know it’s going to be especially important to reach out to mothers. They play a huge role in our families’ health, as they often are the decision makers and coordinators of care for our families. They should be armed with information on how to get health insurance that provides care to our families, without breaking the bank.
On Sunday, May 19th, from 11 to 5, Health Care for All New York will be at the Mamapalooza Festival in Riverside Park, Manhattan (entrance at West 68th and the Hudson River). Stop by our table where you can get more information about how the health care law helps moms and our families get the care they need to get and stay healthy. We’ll also have information about some of the new coverage options coming this fall, and how you can sign up for more information. We’ll have some great giveaways too – for both moms and kids – so be sure to swing by!
Can’t wait till then? Join us on Twitter today (@hcfany) and follow the hashtag #mamasays. We and health care advocates across the country will be tweeting tips that #mamasays about your health and invite you to do the same!
Tomorrow marks the 3-year anniversary of the ACA and – wow – what a journey it has been!
Despite its youth, the ACA has already succeeded in helping millions of Americans get access to affordable care. For example, children with pre-existing health problems can no longer be turned down for coverage. Small businesses have access to tax credits to help pay for health insurance for their employees: 4 in 5 New York small businesses are eligible. Preventive care is now available without co-pays, seniors who hit the Medicare “donut hole” are paying less for prescription drugs, and health insurers now have strict guidelines on how much of your monthly premium must be used on medical care rather than their own administrative costs.
A few numbers give a picture of just how much the ACA has helped people in our state:
- New Yorkers with Medicare have saved over $407.6 million on prescription drugs since the law’s enactment. In 2012 alone, 226,569 individuals in New York saved over $170.4 million, or an average of $752 per beneficiary.
- 4.4 million New Yorkers gained access to free preventive health services in 2011 and 2012. 1.5 million seniors with Medicare received free preventive health care in 2012 alone.
- This year, 1 million New Yorkers with private insurance coverage will get $86,526,642 in rebates from insurance companies who have overcharged them, with an average rebate of $138 per family.
And the best is yet to come: In 2014, annual limits on insurance coverage will be banned, adults with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied coverage, and tax credits will be available to help individuals and families pay for health insurance. And, individuals and small businesses will be able to get health insurance, including public programs like Medicaid, through the New York Health Benefit Exchange. This will save New Yorkers who buy insurance on their own an average of over 60% and people who get it through their small business over 20%. Enrollment will begin October of this year!
Because of the ACA, affordable, quality health care will soon be woven into the fabric of American society, making us stronger and healthier as a nation. And that’s something we can ALL look forward to!
So, Happy Third Birthday, ACA! May you live a long, happy (and healthy) life!