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Rates to increase in 2015, but not as much as health insurers hoped

Rochester Business Journal
September 4, 2014

The Department of Financial Service has agreed to half or less of the increases health insurance companies asked for.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the No. 1 health insurer in the Rochester market, saw its small group rate hike request cut from 16.54 percent to 12.2 percent, and its individual-market request slashed from 19.59 percent to 9.23 percent. 

The area’s No. 2 insurer, MVP Health Care, saw its individual plan rate hike cut nearly in half, from a requested 18.31 percent to 9.97 percent. DFS cut separate MVP small-group plan rate hike requests from 13.62 percent to 11.76 percent, and from 14.54 percent to 12.66 percent.   

In the statewide small group market, insurers on average sought 13.9 percent rate increases. DFS allowed an average 6.7 percent increase. The department slashed the average 12.5 percent hike the state’s insurers sought in the individual market to 5.7 percent. 

DFS estimates that the rate-hike reductions will save New York consumers some $1 billion. 

“We closely scrutinized the proposed rate increases insurers requested and reduced them significantly where appropriate,” New York Department of Financial Services commissioner Benjamin Lawsky said. 

The New York Health Plan Association, an Albany-based trade group representing most of the state’s private health insurance carriers, disagreed. 

 “There are serious concerns that DFS’ decisions will create unnecessary turmoil in the market and will lead some plans to make business decisions that might include eliminating or reducing product offerings, withdrawing from regions, or even withdrawing from the marketplace entirely.” NYHPA president and CEO Paul Macielak predicted.
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

What You're Saying 

michael thornton at 8:39:04 AM on 9/5/2014
Funny. These 'heath' insurers cannot and will not ever find enough profit to suit their greedy needs. US has a healthcare system that is the most expensive in the world by far and the outcomes are poor compared to those dastardly socialist healthcare systems in the civilized...  Read More >

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