For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2019
Budget Increases Health Insurance Premiums for New York’s Middle Class
The Governor and Legislative leaders are celebrating passage of a $175 billion budget that contains hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts and new unfunded mandates for private health coverage, which may seem politically popular, but will in fact increase the cost of health insurance for millions of New Yorkers.
NYSCOP supports codification of the consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act and supports efforts to expand the availability of affordable, quality coverage for New Yorkers. The Budget, however, also includes a number of initiatives which will increase the cost of coverage for businesses and individuals who purchase coverage. New mandates for coverage; additional hidden taxes to pay for state functions; and relaxing federal cost sharing requirements will all place additional pressure on health insurance premiums in 2020.
While mandating additional infertility coverage, expanding mental health and substance abuse coverage and eliminating cost sharing for a number of benefits has superficial political popularity, those additional benefits will only add to the cost of private health coverage. Moreover, the Governor failed to propose any efforts to control unnecessary costs, including rejecting the Assembly’s proposal to contain excessive and abusive hospital costs by New York’s largest and most profitable private hospital systems.
New York currently requires the most comprehensive benefit package in the country, which already challenges middle income New Yorkers and small business in their ability to afford rising health costs. The costs of these benefits are in addition to the more than $5 billion in hidden taxes paid by individual and businesses who purchase coverage.
As the Department of Financial Services recently prudently noted, given the potential premium increases resulting from new mandates “it is likely than some number of insureds who are barely able to afford their existing coverage will drop coverage as a result of a significant rate increase…” (See DFS Report on IVF Fertilization Preservation Coverage 2/27/19).
NYSCOP is disappointed that lawmakers chose to impose new, unfunded mandates that will drive up the cost of health insurance for all New Yorkers, without also adopting any cost containment or other tools designed to reign in unnecessary and excessive health care costs.