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Department of Financial Services cuts insurance increase requests

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has cut health insurance rate increases to control the cost of health care.

Cuomo said the move would save New Yorkers more than $500 million on their health insurance premiums. Health insurers requested rate increases on average of 12.4 percent, but the DFS cut the average increase to 7.5 percent.

A 2-year-old law gives the DFS the power to review rate requests. The policies impact about 2.3 million New Yorkers.

“We have made progress in holding back rates, but we recognize that much more needs to be done,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This administration is firmly committed to making sure that health insurance is available to all New Yorkers. It must be made affordable by identifying ways that can be used to restrain the rising cost of health care services.”

Under the Prior Approval Law, insurance companies must submit rate increase requests to the DFC. The law also requires insurers to spend 82 cents of every premium dollar on health care services.

Rates for small groups will increase 9.59 percent, as opposed to the 15.77 health insurers proposed. This will impact 1.2 million people.

Aetna companies, impacting 40,417 people, will see an increase of 7.38 percent, down from 11.04 percent that the insurer proposed. Empire companies, impacting 77,984 people, will see an increase of 7.47 percent, down from 7.63 percent.

Oxford companies, impacting 640,314 people, will see an increase of 10.05 percent, down from 19.96 percent. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York, which impacts 254,847 people, will see an increase of 2.77 percent, down from 3.24 percent.

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