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NYSCOP Statement on 2021 Health Insurance Premium Rates

Since the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, New York State’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans have taken swift and aggressive action to ensure affordable and high-quality health coverage is accessible for our members.

During these unprecedented times, New York’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have taken extraordinary steps to provide individuals, small businesses, hospitals and other healthcare providers with the resources needed to combat COVID-19. A few examples include:

  • Providing groups and individuals added flexibility in meeting premium payments;
  • Waiving cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and waiving cost-sharing for related treatment;
  • Providing funding and/or donating COVID-19 testing supplies and personal protective; equipment;
  • Increasing reimbursement to providers for telehealth services to replace lost in-office revenue;
  • Accelerating and advancing payments to providers.

While we appreciate the need to protect individuals and small groups in ensuring affordable coverage, the uncertainty in costs relating to testing, vaccine costs, expensive new treatments, additional provider financial assistance, and the pent-up demand from suspended elective procedures, all warrant the need for prudent rate setting.  In addition, the possibility of a resurgence of the virus as schools and the economy continue to reopen cannot be ignored. The approved rates do not take into account the impact of these costs as well as existing dramatic increases in pharmaceutical and hospital costs. The approved rates have the real potential for creating financial losses that would weaken the solvency of some health plans, especially those not for profit plans. This concern is magnified by the unprecedented health care and economic uncertainty.

New York State’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans are committed to providing high quality and affordable coverage for our members, while continuing our focus on assisting the state in combatting the spread of COVID-19 virus.