NY approves Medicare rate hikes for 2023; reductions requested increases by half

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The New York State Department of Financial Services announced approved rate increases for health insurance companies in 2023, and as the state often does, those initial requests for rate increases have been reduced.

But even though the rate increases proposed by insurers were reduced by about half of what was requested, the final increases were still higher than last year.

For the individual market, insurers have asked for an average rate increase of 18.7%. This was reduced by state regulators to 9.7%.

For the small group market, which covers employers with up to 100 employees, insurance companies requested an average rate increase of 16.5%. The state reduced this increase to 7.9%.

Last year, the average state-approved individual market increase was 3.7% and the average small group market increase approved last year was 7.6%.

Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne Harris said the state’s changes to proposed rate hike requests this year have saved consumers and small businesses nearly $800 million.

Harris said “rising medical costs and inflation continue to put upward pressure on premiums.” She said that with the pricing measures announced this week, the state is prioritizing the financial well-being of consumers while ensuring New Yorkers have access to a “robust and stable health insurance market.”

In terms of individual insurance companies, two that serve many customers in the Rochester area are Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and MVP Health Plan.

For Excellus, the state approved a rate increase of 10% for individual plans and 9.4% for the small group market. Excellus had requested a 14% increase for individual plans and a 12.9% increase for the small group market.

For MVP, this insurer was approved for an increase of 10.1% for individual plans and 11.7% for the small group market. MVP originally requested a 19.2% increase for individual plans and a 14.2% increase for the small group market.

The New York Health Plan Association, which represents 29 managed health care plans, released a statement this week saying premium rate increases submitted in May reflected rising health care costs, which are largely driven to a significant increase in prices that pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and suppliers are charging.

Health Plan Association President and CEO Eric Linzer said the proposed rates also reflect the ongoing impact of COVID-19, including ongoing testing, treatment and vaccination.

And Linzer said the health plan association wants to see state policymakers focus on “measures to address the drivers of rising health care costs.”

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