According to a released study by United Hospital Fund May 2016 report Insurance companies operating on New York’s individual exchange market lost $100 million in 2014.
With recent news of Insurers reporting mounting losses (UnitedHealthcare will drop ACA exchanges) on the Individual Marketplace it wouldn’t be surprising for the next year’s Study to show even greater losses in 2015. As reported last month, the average NYS 2017 Rate Requests for individual marketplace was 17.3%.
Lower premiums, reinsurance and subsidies made coverage more affordable. “For many years in New York, annual individual premium increases far outpaced the offsetting effects of both a $38 million state-funded reinsurance program,12 and a risk-adjustment mechanism that provided a cross-subsidy from the small group market to the individual market, valued at $62 million in 2009.13 In 2014, new enrollment, PHSP participation, more competitive pricing, a better risk pool, and a federal reinsurance program resulted in an average individual monthly premium of $430.97 in New York.” The ACA subsidies reduced premiums by an average of $215/month
NYS Obamacare Future?
“More affordable premiums have been a key factor in the growth of the individual market. The loss of federal reinsurance payments will create an upward pressure on rates, and the absence of federal risk corridor reimbursement will also continue to reverberate.” Consumers with Obamacare subsidies will be shielded from most of the premium increases that may occur, but off-Exchange enrollees and NYSOH customers without subsidies could face significant monthly increases.
Oxford has released an affordable new plan for 2016 and not a moment too soon. With the recent exit of popular Health Republic of NY, Health Republic NY is Shutting Down, the market is starving for an affordable option.
Today’s largest networks with in-network only GOLD are priced at $9,000/single annually. They typically are accompanied with $50 copays and non-office exposures of $1,000 deductibles and coinsurance percent in network. The new Metro network is approximately 25% smaller than NY Liberty network with up to 15% IN SAVINGS. For example, an Oxford Liberty HMO Gold is $745 vs Oxford Metro Gold $650.
In 2015 Oxford’s Garden State Network originated the same game plan of offering a third network in addition to FREEDOM and LIBERTY. After all what good is a large network when one cannot afford to visit Providers? The third network answers the call for access to Providers with half the copays priced at approximately $1,500 less.
All Metal Levels will be included for all size groups including 1-99 & 100+. The new Oxford Metro plan will be limited to NY and NJ Garden State Network Providers. Referrals will be needed to see Specialists. Importantly, most NY Hospitals will be participating with the EXCEPTION of NYU Health System, North Shore LIJ Health System (NorthWell Health) and Maimonides Medical Center. In addition, certain key medical IPA Groups such as Mt Kisko Medical Group are NOT in the network.
The Healthy NY and off-exchange Individuals will use exclusively this new Oxford Metro Network.
The rate requests for 2016 marked the first year in which insurers could rely on actual data from exchange enrollees. In many cases, insurers participating in exchanges in other states requested double-digit rate increases. New York is the second-largest state to receive final approval of its rate requests. Earlier this week, California insurance regulators approving an average rate increase of just 4 percent.
To the relief of customers of industry leader Oxford/UnitedHealthcare the rate increase for groups will be 3.9 to 6.5%. Importantly, the rates are a collective average and may range depending on one’s particular health plan. Additionally, Helath Insurers can opt to tweak or remove plans. Reminder: be sure to check back again our site in 30-60 days. Rates will be posted upon Health Insurer’s release. Also 2016 Individual Exchange Marketplace opens Nov 15th.
On average, insurers requested a 10.4 percent increase in health insurance rates for 2016 in the individual market. DFS reduced that average increase more than 30 percent to 7.1 percent – which is below the approximately 8 percent average increase in health care costs.
Starting on January 1, 2016, New York will add a new Basic Health Plan a.k.a ” Essential Health Plan” to the plans that can be purchased by lower income New Yorkers through NY State of Health. Households at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($17,655 for a household of one; $36,375 for a household of four) will have no monthly premium for the Basic Health Plan. Those with slightly higher incomes at 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,540 for a household of one; $48,500 for a household of four) will have a low monthly premium of $20 for each adult.
The Basic Health Plan will provide the same covered services as other plans offered on the Marketplace. The Basic Health Plan has no annual deductible and lower copayments, making health care even more affordable for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. For example, a person who earns about $20,000 a year and uses moderate health care services including an inpatient hospital stay, prescription drugs and doctor’s visits, will pay about $730 a year for premiums and out-of-pocket costs under the Basic Health Plan in 2016 as compared to about $1,830 in 2015 if they were enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan.
Small Group Market
On average, insurers requested a 14.4 percent increase in health insurance rates for 2015 in the small group market. DFS reduced that average increase by 32 percent to 9.8 percent. A number of small businesses will also be eligible for tax credits that would lower those premium costs even further.
2016 Small Group Rate Actions – Overall Summary
MVP Health Plan*
North Shore LIJ*
All Companies Combined
You may view the DFS press release, which includes a recap of the increases requested and approved by clicking here.
For specific details on all available health plans in 2015, contact our team at Millennium Medical Solutions Corp (855)667-4621. We work in coordination with Navigators to assist with Medicaid, CHIP Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicare Dual Eligibles. We have Spanish, Russian, and Hebrew speakers available. Quotes can also be viewed on our site.
Jan 1 Deadline is Today. Attention last minute health insurance shoppers you have until midnight to purchase a policy on the Health Exchange.
NYS Health Exchange is down again. Not surprisingly a large volume of late comers trying to beat t0morrows deadline for Jan 1, 2014. Last week a 34% enrollment spike in 1 week alone. Despite the 1 week extension the enrollments are still falling short of the original 600,000 projection. A significant percentage have instead been qualified under expanded Medicaid in NYS. At the same time many New Yorkers have had sole prop and husband/wife groups shut out of the small group market place. In addition, popular programs such as Healthy NY have been increased by 25-35% and new $600/single or $1200/family deductibles.
Some people mistakenly believe they have until Dec. 31 to enroll in a plan that takes effect on Jan. 1. Others don’t realize they could pay a federal tax penalty if they don’t have health insurance in place by March 31.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most adults will pay a $95 penalty — or 1 percent of income — in 2014 if they don’t have health insurance coverage. The penalty rises to $695 — or 2 percent of income — by 2016.
To avoid the penalty, people must enroll in a plan by Feb. 15 or qualify for an exemption from the penalty.
Consumers who sign up by Dec. 23 and pay the first month’s premium by Jan. 10 will have coverage on Jan. 1, the industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans announced Wednesday.
If you make under $45,960 or your family makes under $94,200, you could get a real break on health insurance costs More low-income people will also be eligible for free coverage under Medicaid For those eligible, the subsidies will cap the amount you pay for your exchange policy at between 2% and 9.5% of your income (on a sliding scale, based on your income). To find out how much you would pay, estimate your income for this year and plug it into any health subsidy calculator. You can also see estimate subsidies with these ”health subsidy charts”.
Important: If the web site is down we can sign up via paper application to avoid the penalty. A surge of 34% enrollments in one week caused some technical delays last week.
For more information regarding both Exchanges – Individual Exchanges or SHOP please contact our team at Millennium Medical Solutions Corp (855)667-4621. We have Spanish, Russian, and Hebrew speakers available. Quotes can also be viewed on our site.
Why are my rates going up? The recent 2014 health insurance rates ranging in 15-20% increase is having a profound impact especially on small businesses. Benefits are furthermore deteriorating with new deductibles adding a 10% to the out of pocket costs for a net total 25-30% rate increase.
No pre-existing condition. Several new cost contributors aside from Essential Health Benefits Mandate are assigned. Recent articles such as Kaiser’s Popular Provision Of Obamacare Is Fueling Sticker Shock For Some Consumers attributes new Pre-Existing condition waiver as a factor. Starting Jan 1, 2014 anyone with or without prior health insurance can get immediate treatment without a 12 month waiting period. “But the provision also adds costs. To a larger degree than other requirements of the law, it is fueling the “sticker shock” now being voiced by some consumers about premiums for new policies, say industry experts.” With the guaranteed issue there are unknown costs that cannot be accounted for just yet. Example: An uninsured individual we know is delaying needed surgeries until January for this reason. The member will pay a $250/month premium and get a $40,000 surgery paid for immediately. How many young healthy members are needed to offset this cost?
Transitional reinsurance fee. This is paid by fully insured and self-funded plans. The goal of the fee is to stabilize the individual markets by reimbursing companies who insure a disproportionately large number of individuals who are high utilizers of health care services. Fees will be collected between 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Health insurance providers’ fee, also referred to as a health insurance tax, annual fee, and insurer fee. This will be assessed annually beginning in 2014 on health insurance carriers. The total amount to be collected in 2014 is $8 billion. The tax is based on premiums and by some estimates is expected to have a cost impact of 2 to 2.5 percent in 2014, and higher in subsequent years.
Exchange fee. For 2014, our state’s online exchange marketplace is funded through federal start-up grants. But states that run their own exchange, such as Washington, have been tasked with implementing a funding mechanism after 2014. In the session that ended in June, the Washington State Legislature approved a funding plan for our exchange that authorizes the use of a current insurance premium tax for the qualified health plans (QHPs) sold in the exchange and, if necessary, an additional assessment on carriers who sell QHPs through the exchange.
Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) fee (also known as comparative-effectiveness fee). Health insurance issuers and sponsors of self-funded group health plans will be assessed this annual fee beginning in 2012 and ending in 2019. It funds patient-centered outcomes research. PCORI is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help people make informed health care decisions, and improve health care delivery and outcomes. The Group Health Research Institute has received two research awards from PCORI to study ways to improve care for back pain, and connect patients with community resources.
Essential Health benefits. The quintessential question asked is why are my rates going up so much this year has multiple answers with new Essential Health Benefits leading the way. The Essential Health Benefits Not Delayedarticle explains that The Affordable Care Act mandates that the plans include ten essential benefits, from care for pregnant mothers to substance abuse treatment. Popular local plans such as Healthy NY and Brooklyn Healthworks have afforded coverage for over a decade are are missing Mental Health, Chiropractic, and have a $3,000 Rx limit. All Individual Healthy NY and Sole Proprietors are terminating this year . Existing small businesses must buy the full version with Essential Health Benefits.
CASE: A Healthy Ny client just had an increase for singles from $412 to $519. She is a successful generous Caterer who is covering majority of a staff of 10 employees which is unusual for that industry. Her staff had an affordable benefits as well. They loved paying only $20, her Rx copay was only $10/generic and $20/brand for providers she did not have any deductibles. Hospitalization had full coverage with a modest copay. Statistically nearly 90% do not use more than $3,000 Rx. her new plan rolls automatically into the GOLD PLAN increasing her premium 25% along with a new $600 deductible on all benefits and a $40 copay for Specialist. She asked me I thought the new tax was only .9% medicare tax but evidently this IS HER NEW TAX.
So much for if you like your plan you can keep it promise. Even supporters such as Former President ClintonWeighs in on Obamacare. “Obama should honor his health-care promise: Pres. Clinton”, He personally believes President Barack Obama should honor his promise that people who have and like their insurance can keep it.
Do not under estimate the power of the Bill. The President is reviewing ways to allow some to keep their health plan but this would only apply to policyholders losing coverage. Stay tuned.
You can download the complete Essential Health Benefits NYS. Also, for a downloadable guide on self-insuring and secondary market reinsurance for your group please send contact form below. In the meantime, please visit to view past blogs and Legislative Alerts at https://360peo.com/feed.
The pre-July 4th news of Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed until 2015 decision may have started early fireworks. The administration did not, however, delay the larger new requirements facing employers who choose to offer health insurance in the small group market––employers with less than 50 workers. The biggest requirement – Essential Health Benefits not delayed.
Whether the rationale was to alleviate business pressure to meet new mandates by Jan 2014 or the real fear that Employers have already begun making necessary employment hours cut backs to avoid the $2,000 penalty. A $3,000/employee penalty was also looming for Employers offering unaffordable insurance.
Keep in mind that this limited delay does not affect other provisions of the Affordable Care Act slated to go into effect in or before 2014, such as:
Individual mandate which requires most individuals to purchase insurance by January 1, 2014, or pay a tax penalty.
a 90-day maximum on eligibility waiting periods;
monetary caps on annual out-of-pocket maximums;
total elimination of lifetime and annual limits (including expiration of waivers that permitted certain “mini-med” plans and stand-alone Health Reimbursement Arrangements to stay in place through plan years beginning in 2013);
The biggest impact is the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) which will not be delayed and this affects fully insured or ALL Small Businesses. While small employers are not required to offer coverage, if they do then they come under that large number of new essential health benefit mandates and group rating rules that won’t apply to large employers. These small group requirements are expected to increase the cost of small group coverage by an average of 15%––with wide variation by state and the average age of the group.
An employer sponsoring a Healthy NY or Brooklyn Healthworks Plan today for example would be disqualified as this does not carry all Essential Health Benefits. The very popular Healthy NY is slated to shut down for Jan 2014 and most Employers have just received this transition letter last week. Individual and Sole Prop Healthy NY is terminating and small business Healthy NY must be reapplied under a new higher cost version. While the plan did not carry Ambulance and had a $3,000 limited Pharmacy plan it is priced 35% below market and did manage to capture hundreds of thousands that would otherwise had been uninsured. The same is true for those on Hospital Only or high deductible catastrophic plans.
So what are these Essential Health Benefits?
All individual and small group policies on and off-Exchangemust cover ten categories of minimum essential health benefits.
Under the ACA, each state must choose one plan from among popular health insurance plans offered statewide to serve as a benchmark for EHBs. The benchmark plan will act as the model for how plans must define and include EHBs in their coverage — in both the individual and small group markets. New York selected the benefits of the State’s largest small group plan as its EHB benchmark. There is also a Minimum Value requirement, See NYS Minimum Value STANDARD BENEFIT DESIGN COST SHARING DESCRIPTION CHART (5-6-2013) Some of the plan’s components include:
No cost-sharing for routine preventive services
Pediatric dental and vision coverage
Habilitative and rehabilitative services, including physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy
Rich mental/behavioral health services
No annual or lifetime dollar limits on benefits
Conversely, a shift to self- insurance is underway as self-insureds can avoid many taxes and instead ONLY cover the Minimum Essential Coverage which is different than the Essential Health Benefits. The strategy coupled with reinsurance is a great sophisticated model usually reserved for larger groups. This segment will be able to avoid local additional State mandates which in States like NY account for 14-16%% of the costs. Thats a total swing of 30% for a fully insured NY group. Also, self-insured groups do NOT pay added taxes such as the health insurance tax of $9 Billion annually over the next 10 years.
The administration has shown their sensitivity to larger groups. This segment already covers 94% of its employees at least in some fashion while small businesses cover less than 50%.
Why not do the same for small employers as well? And while they are at it, use the time to reconsider the impact many of these regulations are likely to have on the number of small employers continuing to offer coverage.
For a downloadable guide on self-insuring and secondary market reinsurance for your group please send contact form below. In the meantime, please visit to view past blogs and Legislative Alerts at https://360peo.com/feed.