Gov. Cuomo is doing his part to make sure New York State insurers cover the 10 essential health benefits currently required under the Affordable Care Act and is even preparing to fight the repeal of the ACA. But the state is now under fire over potentially leaving residents in the dark: insurers are alleging the state has failed to inform people in detail about proposed rate increases that could have a drastic impact on their monthly premiums.
The New York State Department of Financial Services originally stated that they would make insurance company rate applications available on its site earlier this month. As yet, that information has yet to appear. But the New York Health Plan Association has said that customers are receiving letters from their insurers about the proposed rate hikes, some of which extend into the double-digits, and are being directed to visit the aforementioned website to review information and submit comments.
To make matters worse, residents are under a time crunch to submit these comments. New York law specifies that consumers have only 30 days to make comments on application requests. Paul Macielak from the Health Plan Association said in a statement that the delay is obstructing New York consumer rights.
If New York State residents will end up having to pay significantly more for their insurance every month, many hope that Cuomo will be successful in his efforts to have hospitalizations, maternity and pediatric care, lab work, mental health and addiction services, and more covered under policies, despite the fact that the Trump administration has threatened to take many of these services away under their proposed health care replacement.
Cuomo promised the state will make efforts to prevent gender, age, and pre-existing condition discrimination, which could be good news for New York residents enrolled in Medicare. Since Medicare enrollment is expected to increase to 79 million by the year 2030, it’s possible that these participants may fare better than they might in other locations throughout the country.
The governor has also threatened that any insurers that leave New York State’s insurance marketplace will be banned from participating in the state’s Medicaid program. But the New York Health Plan Association has said that this move could actually lead to more uncertainty for New York insurers.
Still, Cuomo stood firm on his principles, saying in a statement:
“We will not stand idly by as ultra-conservatives in Washington try to roll back the progress we have made to expand access [to] quality, affordable health care, putting our most vulnerable New Yorkers at risk.”
More than 1 million New York residents have obtained health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. It will likely be up to the states to make certain that their populations don’t suffer as a result of its planned repeal.