NYS Exposed: Health insurance premiums to go up

August 22, 2016 06:19 PM

Whether you get your health insurance through the state’s exchange or your employer, it is going up. On top of this, New York State is the second costliest state for employer-sponsored health insurance in the country.

If you buy your insurance through the individual marketplace, you could be looking at an increase of anywhere from 6 to 40 percent. If you work for a small business, you're looking at an 8 to 10 percent increase. Those who work for a big business, you're probably looking at an increase of about 10 percent. These rate hikes are really across the board.

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Back in April 2012, Governor Cuomo -- in an executive order -- said the state's health exchange "lowers the cost of health insurance for small businesses, local government, and the individual New Yorkers across the state." But that isn't happening and we went to find out why.

"It is disheartening and it makes me not want to be here," says Kody Thompson.

Thompson says he has gone without health insurance for the past few years because of one thing.

"I can't even afford it," says Thompson. "I can't afford it at all."

Thompson says he makes just above the cut off that would've made his insurance free under the Affordable Care Act. The plan he was offered is about $400 per month with a deductible of $9,300 -- and Thompson isn't alone.

"I've seen double-digit increases in the premiums," says Gary Larsen.

Gary Larsen of Webster retired early, so he has to buy insurance through the state's individual marketplace. He is looking at a 17 percent increase.

"I don't know how other people justify those kind of increases," says Larsen.

Why are the rates going up? Insurers say because prescription drug costs are going up, hospitals are raising prices for visits and stays and increasing state mandates, as New York Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, a member of the Assembly's Insurance Committee, points out.

"The mandates that the State of New York has, in addition to the Affordable Care Act, are many, 30 some mandates," says Assemblyman Stephen Hawley. "All are wonderful, but along with that when you mandated coverage, comes increased cost."

The Health Plan Association is also pointing the finger at the state legislature for passing bills that require increased breast cancer screening and heroin addiction treatment.

Hawley: "It is wonderful to cover people from womb to grace, if you will, but that comes at a cost."

Amanda Ciavarri: "Are the rates and the increase really fair to New Yorkers?"

Hawley: "I don't think any increase is really fair. The question is, is it enough to cover the cost of health care? When you have hospitals and doctors coming up with new and innovative technology, that cost money."

Ciavarri: "Is there any way to help this? To keep the rates low and affordable for people?"

Hawley: "Get government out of the health care business."

He continues, "We need to go back to private enterprise, we need to redefine and revamp Obamacare, so that our citizens are able to be healthy without having their pockets empties of their livelihood."

For people like Thompson, he isn't sure the cycle will ever be broke.

"It blows my mind that the middle class is the one being harped on," says Thompson. "There is no way out for us, but if we were poor and we gave up and we cheated the system to say we didn't make that much money, we would be taken care of."

If you want to see this change you can always voice your concern to the state's insurance committee.


Assembly Insurance Committee
Senate Insurance Committee


Amanda Ciavarri

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