Premiums will go up for most individual market plans in 2019 – but the average increase is only 8.6 percent, the lowest in three years (read our comments on the individual market applications here). Premiums for small group plans will only go up by 3.8 percent on average.
In New York, insurers have to get approval for their premiums from the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS). This process is called rate review or prior approval. Most carriers had requested much bigger increases – an average of 24 percent for individual plans and 7.5 percent for small group plans.
Some notable results:
- Only two carriers received the premium changes they originally requested – HealthNow (-3.2 percent) and MetroPlus (13.5 percent).
- Two carriers will reduce premiums for 2019 – HealthNow and CDPHP, which will decrease rates an average of 1.9 percent. The company originally requested a 5.1 percent increase.
- Fidelis is the biggest carrier with 30.4 percent of the individual market share. It had requested the highest original increase, 38.6 percent. This was reduced to 13.7 percent.
- The largest approved increase was Emblem’s 17 percent. Emblem had requested an average increase of 31.5 percent.
- The smallest approved increase was just 0.6 percent for Independent Health, which had requested 21.3 percent.
Even though premium increases will be relatively small, health insurance can still be difficult to afford. Some people may be confused about whether the Affordable Care Act is still in place – it is! If you get tax credits to help pay your premiums, you’ll still get them next year – and they will increase with your premium. If you are not eligible for any assistance, remember that you have choices about plans and shop around for the best prices.