Prior Approval is Working!

Posted October, 21 2010 by arianne

The NYS Department of Insurance  announced today their first set of decisions on health insurance rate increases since prior approval was reinstated earlier this year.  Under prior approval, health insurers cannot raise their rates without first getting approval from the Insurance Department.  Prior to reinstatement of this law, insurers needed only to file the rates with the Department before using them (a system called “file and use”).

However, several insurers were quick to take advantage of the period before the law went into effect in an effort to avoid oversight.   The chart below shows an example of one isurer’s rate increases put in place under prior approval, and what they were able to squeeze through under the “file and use” system:

Using prior approval, the Department was able to lower rate increases  by an average of 2.5%, but some consumers will still see big jumps because of the rush to raise rates before the law went into effect.  Rates announced today will go into effect on or after January 2011.  If you have questions about your own insurance bills, you can contact the Department’s Consumer Services Bureau at 1-800-342-3736.

To read the Insurance Department’s press release , click here.

To read the full list of rate changes requested and approved by the SDOI, click here.