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N.Y.: Individual healthcare plan premiums drop 50 percent

N.Y.: Individual healthcare plan premiums drop 50 percent
Affordable Care Act drops NY individual healthcare premiums 50 percent. President Barack Obama shakes hands with members of the audience after making remarks on the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on July 18, 2013. The president highlighted a provision in the healthcare bill, which is sometimes called Obamacare, that requires health insurers to devote at least 80 percent of their spending on medical care, or give rebates to consumers. He also noted a report that many self-insured New Yorkers will see their premiums drop by 50 percent. UPI/Pat Benic | License Photo

ALBANY, N.Y., July 18 (UPI) -- New Yorkers whose employers don't provide health insurance but buy individual plans can expect to pay at least 50 percent less next year, state officials say.

New York insurance regulators said beginning in October, individuals in New York City who can pay as much as $1,000 a month or more for individual coverage would be able to shop for health insurance plans for as little as $308 a month, The New York Times reported.

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However, those with lower incomes who buy individual plans will qualify for federal subsidies, so their cost would be even lower.

The healthcare insurance plans -- platinum, gold, silver and bronze -- offered on the exchanges -- renamed marketplaces -- all must meet certain basic requirements from the Affordable Care Act.

An individual with an annual income of $17,000 would pay about $55 a month for a silver plan, while a person with a $20,000 yearly income would pay about $85 a month for a silver plan and someone earning $25,000 would pay about $145 a month for the same plan, state regulators said.

The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who receive healthcare insurance from their employers will not be affected by these new premium rates, but the savings will affect the 17,000 New Yorkers who currently buy insurance on their own and the 2.6 million uninsured -- mostly young and healthy -- in New York state.

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About three-quarters of those currently uninsured in New York would be eligible for the federal subsidies, state regulators said. New York state individual healthcare premiums have long been among the highest in the nation.

"If there was any state that the Affordable Care Act could bring health insurance rates down, it was New York," Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who tracks the federal law, told the Times.

The rates for small businesses in New York are considerably lower than for individuals; therefore, they will not fall as much, but small businesses will be eligible for tax credits, and the exchanges will make it easier for them to select a plan, state regulators said.

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