July 19, 2013 -- New Yorkers who buy individual health insurance plans on the private market received some good news: They will be paying a lot less for the same plans next year under the Affordable Care Act.
New York officials said the plans, available starting Oct. 1 on the New York Health Benefit Exchange, will cost an average of 53% lower than current rates. People who qualify for federal financial aid will pay even less.
The New York Health Benefit Exchange was created to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Each state will have an Exchange, also known as a Marketplace. While rates and some plan options will vary from state to state, all insurance policies must offer "essential benefits" mandated by the federal government.
Coverage will begin in 2014.
In New York, 17 insurers will offer plans to an estimated 1 million uninsured state residents. Companies participating include Aetna, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and United Healthcare. Each plan will be available in four levels of coverage. The average monthly cost of each level of individual plans will vary by region, and ranges from:
- Platinum: $423.64-$965.24
- Gold: $361.05-$817.98
- Silver: $319.47-$691.69
- Bronze: $252.43-$589.91
Financial aid will be available to individuals who earn up to $45,960 and for a family of four up to $94,200.
“These plans and rates deliver on the promise that the Exchange will offer quality health insurance coverage at a price that works for New Yorkers,” Donna Frescatore, executive director of the New York Health Benefit Exchange, says in a news release.
The rate drop in New York is not one most people around the country can expect to see. That’s because New York required insurance companies to accept anyone who applied for coverage and prevented them from charging more for existing health conditions -- two provisions that are included in the Affordable Care Act. What New York State did not have in place that the ACA does is that everyone buy coverage. That led to a private health insurance market in New York filled with mostly older, sicker people, which caused insurance rates to skyrocket.