New York: Preliminary 2019 ACA rate hike request: 24.0%, fully HALF due to #ACASabotage

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Hot on the heels of Washington State releasing their preliminary 2019 individual market rate hike request comes a similar press release out of the New York Department of Financial Services...and neither the carriers nor the state regulators are making any bones about the reason for next year's rate increases:

PROPOSED 2019 HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM RATES FOR INDIVIDUAL AND SMALL GROUP MARKETS

Health insurers in New York have submitted their requested rates for 2019, as set forth in the charts below.  These are the rates proposed by health insurers, and have not been approved by DFS.

New York’s insurance market remains robust despite federal actions, with consumers having choices in every county of the State.  The average rate requests for the small group market reflect the increased stability of that market in New York State.  With respect to the individual market, the single biggest justification offered by insurers for the requested increases is the Trump Administration’s repeal of the individual mandate penalty.  The individual mandate, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, helped mitigate against dramatic price increases by ensuring healthier insurance poolsInsurers have attributed approximately half of their requested rate increases to the risks they see resulting from its repeal.  Without the federal action, the average requested rate increase  would be  12.1%.  As DFS reviews all of the submissions, we will continue to ensure that any rate increases are fully and actuarially justified by appropriate medical cost increases and are not inadequate, excessive or unfairly discriminatory, in accordance with New York law.

Yes, the NY DFS has actually done pretty much all the work for me...not only are they putting a hard number on the portion of next year's rate increases caused by the mandate being repealed at the statewide level, they even did so on a carrier-by-carrier basis:

It's worth noting that while the Urban Institute's projections of the impact of mandate repeal/#ShortAssPlans on rates in some other states may seem suspiciously high (they estimate it will be responsible for 19% and 21% rate increases in Virginia and Washington State respectively, even though both states are actually looking at increases lower than those), in New York, the portion being pinned on sabotage is actually higher than what Urban had projected (11.9% instead of 8.8%).