Guest post: Sarah Fishman, Intern at Raising Women’s Voices – New York
Have you recently received a letter from your health insurance company about a rate increase for next year? Don’t panic! This is only a proposed rate increase that must be reviewed by state officials, and you have the right to weigh in on whether it should be approved or not.
New York State law says that the Department of Financial Services (DFS), headed by Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, has the authority to review all insurer rate change requests and can deny or reduce any that it deems excessive. Consumers have a 30-day period to voice their concerns to the DFS, and this year that period ends on August 1. Your comments can make a difference, saving consumers millions of dollars in premium costs. For example, in 2013, DFS only approved the rate increases after reducing them by 5% in the individual market.
Some of the plans being sold in New York State have proposed large rate increases for the next year. Many are requesting increases in the range of 15-20%, with some as high as 28%. Others are requesting decreases. Find your plan’s request here.
Take action by submitting your own comments. Remember to act quickly to meet the August 1 deadline. Below is a sample letter you can adapt and submit to the Department of Financial Services. You can also download the sample letter by clicking here. After editing the letter with your information, you can copy and paste it to be submitted here.
SAMPLE LETTER TO DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES RE: HEALTH INSURANCE RATE INCREASE
Dear Superintendent Lawsky:
I write to file an objection on the proposed premium rate increase of [insert percent or amount of increase here], recently filed by [insert insurance company name].
I have been a customer for [x number of years]. I need health insurance because [explain why you need coverage, list special health conditions for yourself, your family or employees who are covered by your insurance plan]. This proposed rate increase will be a major hardship for me.
I believe that my carrier’s profits, administration, and executive compensations costs are too great and urge you to require it to invest more premium dollars into its customer’s health expenses.
I strongly support the Department of Financial Services’ efforts to make more insurance more affordable and information about rate increases more accessible. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
If you need more information about my situation, please feel free to contact me at: [insert your email or phone number or address here].