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New York health insurance rates going up in 2015 for individuals, small groups

New York health insurance rates going up in 2015 for individuals, small groups

New York state's individual and small group health insurance rates for the 2015 plan year, including rates for plans purchased through New York's public health insurance exchange, will increase by averages of 5.7% and 6.7% respectively, the New York State Department of Financial Services said Thursday.

The rate increases apply to privately purchased plans, as well as plans purchased through NY State of Health, the health insurance marketplace introduced in 2013 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In a statement, the department said the approved 2015 premium rate increases were, on average, less than half of the percentage increases requested by health insurers operating in New York.

“We closely scrutinized the proposed rate increases insurers requested and reduced them significantly where appropriate,” New York State Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said in the statement. “While we have made substantial progress in reforming our health care market and holding down costs, there is much more work ahead. We will continue to engage with consumer groups, insurers, providers and other stakeholders as we move forward with that effort.”

The single largest premium rate increase in the individual market for 2015 belongs to Health Republic Insurance of New York, for which the state approved a premium rate increase of 13%. Conversely, Affinity Health Plan, HealthFirst and UnitedHealthcare of New York all were approved for double-digit decreases in their premium rates.

In the small-group market, MetroPlus Health Plan was approved for a 14% increase in premium rates, while Care Connect was approved to lower premium rates by nearly 15%, the segment's single largest approved rate reduction.

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