Health insurance companies put in requests for rate hikes for 2019

Jun 5, 2018
Originally published on June 4, 2018 7:45 pm

Health insurance companies in New York State have submitted their rate requests for 2019, and on average, the 14 companies are requesting a 24% hike for individuals.

That varies quite a bit among the specific companies; Excellus, which has a large presence in the Rochester area, requested an 8.9% increase. MVP Health Plan, another company with a number of customers locally, requested a 6.5% increase for individuals.

For the Small Group Market, the average increase requested is 7.5%. Excellus requested a 3.8% increase and MVP Health Plan a 7% increase.

NYS Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo says that the state’s market remains “robust” despite federal actions, with consumers having choices in every county. In terms of the increases for the individual market, Vullo says that the single biggest justification offered by insurers for the requested increases is the Trump Administration’s repeal of the individual mandate penalty. She says that mandate, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, helped mitigate against dramatic price increases by ensuring healthier insurance pools.

Eric Linzer, the President & CEO of the New York Health Plan Association says that the proposed premium rate requests “are reasonable, reflecting the cost of care and taking into account a number of factors contributing to rising health care costs.

He says among those factors are the cost of prescription drugs, prices charged by doctors, hospitals and other clinicians, and changes at the federal level.

Vullo says that as the state reviews the requested increases, they will continue to ensure that any hikes are justified by appropriate medical cost increases.