Huge health insurance price drop in store for New Yorkers


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.


Yes folks, it's the Hoover Dam!

A press release issued by Governor Cuomo’s office yesterday announced that New Yorkers will save over $500 million on health insurance premiums this year thanks to the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) utilization of the State’s prior approval law.  As you may remember, New York’s 2010 prior approval law allows DFS officials to review insurance rate increases before they go into effect and scale them back if they are too high.

Health insurers had requested overall increases averaging around 12.4%, which were then cut down to an average of 7.5% by DFS.  Rate increases for small group plans will increase an average of 9.5%, down from the average 15.7% increase requested by the insurance plans.  Prior to passage of the prior approval law, annual premium rate increases averaged 14%.

These modest increases stand out at a time when many states are experiencing double-digit increases in premiums.  For example, an article in Saturday’s New York Times notes that states like Florida and Ohio have seen rates rise by as much as 20%, with similar rate increases proposed in California.

The Affordable Care Act requires states to review any proposed rate increases above 10%, however New York is one of 37 states which allows state officials to deny excessive rate increases (an issue that is explored further in the Times article).

So, thanks again to our Senate Democrats who really championed this issue back in 2010 and made savings like this possible today.  We appreciate the work you do!!!

See below for a breakdown of the average requested rate increase and what the DFS ended up actually approving.  For the full list of increases by insurance plans, see the Governor’s press release.


Health Insurance Market Segment
Total Number
of Members Affected
Requested Annual Rate Increase (Weighted Average)
Approved Annual Rate Increase (Weighted Average)
Reduction by DFS
Individual, direct-pay
Small Group
Large Group
Medicare Supplement

Click here to read the Governor’s press release.

Click here to read the NYTimes article, titled “Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits.”



If you have been able to take your eyes off of the gripping action of the summer olympics, you may have noticed that the health insurance rate increase applications continue to be posted onto the Department of Financial Services (DFS) website.

HCFANY has been working diligently to comb through the rate increase requests and accompanying documents, and has submitted objections to the DFS on two more products – Excellus (and related products), who has requested increases of up to 18.6%, and MVP, who has requested rate increases of up to 19.9%.  You can read the letters below:

Some of you may have also noticed that the DFS has taken some steps to reorganize its website this year, particularly the section on prior approval.  While it is a little bit more organized, it may be a little bit harder to find what you are looking for.  Here is the link to find the rate applications by company.


That’s right – its health insurance rate review time! This means that our health insurance plans are now diligently submitting their proposed rate increases to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) for approval.  Some of you may have already received a letter from your health plan letting you know that they plan to “adjust” your premium rate.  Health plans are required to give you 120 days notice of any proposed rate increases (and 60 days notice before the approved increase goes into effect).

It’s up to DFS to decide whether the proposed rate increases are necessary.  Comments and objections from policyholders and the public can be submitted for up to 30 days after a health plan submits its application for an increase.  You can find any pending rate increase applications, and supporting documentation, on the DFS website by clicking here.

HCFANY is, of course, on top of this and is once again submitting comments on proposed rate increases.  First on the agenda is Oxford/United Healthcare, which is requesting rate increases of between 15.1% and 46.5% for its various small groupproducts.  After combing through the supporting documentation provided by the plan – particularly around medical trend and member migration – we are not convinced that that increases of this magnitude are necessary.  Our recommendation to the DFS is that the proposed rate increases be denied.

Click here to read HCFANY’s comment to the DFS in response to the proposed rate increase for Oxford Health Plans (NY), Inc., Oxford Health Insurance, Inc., and UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York.

If you’d like to submit your own comments to the DFS, you can do so online by clicking here, or via regular mail to:

Mr. Charles Lovejoy
Health Bureau
New York State Department of Financial Services
25 Beaver Street
New York, NY 10004