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Some NY Health Exchange Insurers Seek Sharp Hikes

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some insurance companies participating in New York’s health care exchange want to jack up rates, raising new fears about the cost of medical insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The state’s Department of Financial Services says, while the average increase request for premiums is 13 percent, Excellus Health Plan is asking for 19.7 percent more, MVP Health Plan wants 19 percent and Metro Plus is requesting 18 percent. In one of its groups, Metro Plus is asking for a 28 percent hike, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.

Those increases are in stark contrast to claims by the Obama administration that the Affordable Care Act would drive down health care costs.

“There’s something wrong starting off right off the bat,” Roy Desort, 75, of Midtown, told Brennan.

“It didn’t work out in the beginning, and now they’re coming — it’s even going to get worse,” added Desort, who suffers from emphysema.

Yevgeniy Feyman, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said the demand for higher rates should not come as a surprise.

“I don’t like to say ‘I told you so,’ but this is exactly what everyone should be expecting,” he said.

“For the average person in New York, they’re going to see higher premiums. … By 2018, these premiums are going to be even higher. And in 2018, the methodology for subsidies changes: You get less subsidies basically for every dollar you spend on premiums, and people are going to face much more of these costs out of pocket.”

Many doctors have long feared that Obama’s health care law would, in fact, drive up costs and the wait times for health care.

People like Desort fear for the future.

“People like me, they’re going to say, ‘Oh, forget about him. He’s 75 years old. We don’t need to take care of his problems. We’ll take care of the 65 years old.’ There’s a lot of loopholes  to this whole thing,” he said.

Metro Plus said it captured 44 percent of the New York City market, with a significant portion being younger New Yorkers, which will drive up its risk-adjustment pool.

The Department of Financial Services has the final say over the rate-hike requests and said the rate increases granted are usually much lower than what was requested.

A final decision is expected by the end of August.

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