- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Insurance companies that feed into New York’s health exchange system for Obamacare are requesting hikes to patient premiums that are in the double-digits, a New York Post investigation found.

The average increase that insurers are considering for 2015 is 12 percent, the newspaper reported. But a large number of these insurers actually want to boost premium payment costs on patients by 20 percent.

Excellus Health Plan, for instance, wants to pass along a 19.7 percent premium increase to its 24,000 customers. And MVP Health Plan wants a similarly large premium hike — 19 percent — for its 33,000 plan participants, the New York Post found.

The rate hikes are curious, the New York Post noted, given the stated goal of Obamacare to rein in runaway medical costs.

Insurers, however, blamed the premium increases directly on Obamacare.

“Our goal in pricing is to match expected medical spending — including medical costs, utilization and mandated coverage — with premiums,” said Maria Gordon Shydlo, a spokeswoman at UnitedHealthCare, in the New York Post. “Other factors include plan design and new taxes and fees.”

Officials with the state’s Department of Financial Services — the government entity the oversees and regulates the insurance field — are mulling the planned increases.

“We are going to scrutinize these rate requests very closely in order to protect New Yorkers and ensure they are not subject to any unjustified rate increases,” Superintendent Ben Lawsky told the New York Post.

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