New York State health insurance rates on the rise

Local News

Individual health insurance rates in New York State could soon be seeing an all time high. Fourteen private health insurers are requesting on average a 24 percent increase for individuals in 2019. And not all private health insurers are asking for the same increase. Here in Rochester, Excellus is asking for 9 percent whereas Fidelis is asking for a 39 percent increase. 

‘It’s the geographic location, the amount of people that they are insuring,” explained Chuck Wade, a Financial Advisor and Vice President for Brighton Securities.  

According to Wade, the underlying costs of care continue to grow. Insurers, like New York Health Plan Association are defending their actions; calling them “reasonable;” citing growing healthcare costs.

“It has to go for prescription drug costs coverage, it has to go for doctor and hospital costs,” said Leslie Moran, Senior Vice President with New York Health Plan Association. 

There are also changes at federal level to blame; specifically, the repealing of the individual mandate: a tax penalty for people who did not buy insurance.  Originally, the individual mandate was under the Affordable Care Act. 

“Without the penalty, some people who won’t have coverage will no longer purchase coverage. So when you take the younger, healthier people out, your pool is smaller, you can’t spread the cost as wide of a population, so everyone ends up paying a little bit more,” said Moran.

Financial experts say the final increase is on track to be in the double digits.

The Department of Financial Services has the final say and can lower the requested rates. However, financial advisors say based on previous years, they do not expect rates to be lowered by much. A decision will be made in the next three to four months. 

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