New York Announces ACA Premium Increases for 2017

Approved increases for individual plans range from 6% to over 80%.

The Department of Financial Services (DFS) of New York recently announced its health insurance premium increases for 2017, including increases for Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.

Premiums for the New York State of Health ACA exchange were approved to increase by an average of 16.6%, according to a press release from the DFS. They reduced the average rate from 19.3%.

However, some New York residents may be shocked to see that the premium for a plan from Crystal Run Health Insurance Company will increase by 80.5%. Other large increases include plans from MetroPlus and Care Connect, both jumping by 29.2%.

For consumers facing large premiums, the DFS suggests shopping around for plans.

“Consumers should shop around for the best value,” said Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health. “The Marketplace offers one-stop shopping for individuals and small businesses, and it’s the only place you can receive federal financial assistance which greatly helps make coverage more affordable for many New Yorkers.”

According to the press release, the most popular plan’s premium only grew approximately 9%. These individual plans cover more than 350,000 consumers, approximately of whom approximately 50% received federal subsidies in 2016.

The DFS states they reduced proposed increases by 28% in both individual and small group plans, and will save consumers over $302 million. They estimate that New York insurers will bypass the Minimum Loss Ratio of 82%, and spend 85.5% for small group plans and 87.2% for ACA plans on healthcare costs, according to the press release.

The DFS estimates that inpatient hospital and drug costs will account for more than 40% of expenses in 2017. They also attribute 5.5% of the increase to the discontinuance of the federal reinsurance program.

The risk adjustment program has also lead to concerns among the DFS, with plans to create a solution to fix the disparities caused by the program.

“DFS carefully examined the rates requested by health insurers to reduce excessive health insurance premium increases in the face of rising national healthcare and pharmaceutical costs,” said Financial Services Superintendent Maria T Vullo. “While premiums are increasing nationally, New York’s rates are comparable or lower than rates requested and approved in other states. More than 50% of consumers buying plans through the NY State of Health will receive a tax credit offsetting the increases in premiums, and for some the credit will result in lower actual premiums. DFS will continue to protect consumers and ensure access to healthcare, while maintaining a vibrant and competitive New York insurance market.”