Premiums are going up for small group and individual health insurance across the state and in Western New York – but not by nearly as much as insurers had requested.
The state Department of Financial Services on Wednesday announced it had approved health insurers’ premium rate increases for 2023, with some tweaks. The state reduced insurers’ requested rates by 48% in the individual market and by 52% for small groups, collectively saving the more than 1.1 million New Yorkers enrolled in those plans a total of almost $800 million, the department estimated.
Here’s how that shakes out in Western New York:
- The entity that includes Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York had sought a 20.5% increase for individuals – 6,457 people enrolled in those plans – but the state accepted an increase of 12.8% instead. For small group plans, which cover employers with up to 100 workers, Highmark had requested a 15.3% increase, with the state approving an increase of 10.7%. Highmark has 74,726 members in its small group plan.
- Meanwhile, Independent Health requested a 10.2% increase for individuals – 7,641 enrolled – and the state accepted an increase of 6.1%. On the small groups, of which Independent Health lists 26,217 members, the insurer requested a 15.9% increase, but the state approved a 12.9% jump.
- Excellus Health Plan, which includes Univera Healthcare, had sought 14% increase for individuals – 26,562 enrolled – and the state accepted an increase of 10%. For small group plans, for which Excellus listed 154,316 members, the insurer wanted a 12.9% increase, but the state approved a 9.4% boost.
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The rate adjustments affect people who buy individual commercial health insurance and small employers with 100 or fewer full-time workers, together comprising a small slice of members for the