Out-of-control insurance rate hikes reaching fever pitch in NY

Posted September, 28 2011 by arianne

The front page of the NY Times this morning mentions HCFANY in its profile of the plight of New Yorkers getting hit below the belt with double-digit health insurance premium rate increases during a continuously depressed job market.

Many of you will remember that HCFANY has been raising a stink on this matter for some time now, and recently posted a letter to the leaders and membership of the NYS Senate and Assembly insurance committees with a call to launch an investigation of insurer pricing practices and to consider holding hearings.

The Times cites a new Kaiser Family Foundation report that found that health insurance premiums for family coverage through employers has doubled since 2001, while wages have only risen by 34%.  Pair this with proposed premium rate increases of up to 56% on the individual and small group market in New York and we’ve got ourselves an unsustainable situation.

The New York State Insurance Department reinstated the prior approval process for health insurance premium rate increases in 2010, however it is not yet clear that the process is helping to curb the rate of growth to a reasonable level for every plan.  HCFANY’s own Elisabeth Benjamin, of the Community Service Society, is quoted in the Times article asking the Department to utilize its power to do so.

Once the Health Insurance Exchanges come into effect in 2014, it is thought that the increased competition among insurance plans will make it harder for them to get away with these types of increases.  Now, if we could just get that darn Exchange bill passed in New York already…