Across the nation, many insurance companies are asking for big rate increases this year – but in New York, you have the right to weigh in on whether they receive them.
Every year, health insurance companies that sell products in New York must ask for permission from the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to change their rates. This year, the companies that sell plans to individuals through the New York State of Health are asking for an average 22 percent increase. For small group plans, the average request is for a 16 percent increase. There’s a big range, including some requests to decrease premiums. Your insurance company is required to notify you of their request – so keep an eye out for their letter!
DFS carefully reviews the requests, balancing the need to keep premiums affordable for consumers with the need to keep insurance companies financially healthy. One of the things DFS weighs is comments from the public. It is important for state officials to hear from all types of consumers about the effect a premium change would have on their households or businesses.
Not every state asks consumers what they think about insurance rates – New Yorkers should take advantage of this public process! Last year, the rate review process resulted in a 3 percent lower premium rate, which translated to $430 million in consumer savings.
HCFANY carefully reviews the rate filings every year and sends our own detailed comments (you can look at our letters from last year here). We’ll post this year’s letters on our website when they are complete. But you don’t have to wait for that or do an in-depth review of the applications for your comments to be valuable. You can simply go to this link and fill out the form provided by DFS. If you’d like some help thinking about what kinds of comments to write, you can look at our templates or look at comments written by other consumers last year. Those are available at this link, along with approved applications from last year and the pending applications for 2017. Comments are due by June 17.