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Elana Levin

NY State Senators are “Sicko” of Insurance Industry Price Gouging

Health insurance is just one of the kinds of insurance that New Yorkers are saddled with paying extremely high rates for. New York State Senator Eric T. Schneiderman (also a guestblogger) and New York State Senator Neil D. Breslin co-wrote an oped in Sunday's edition of The Albany Times Union explaining why there is so little accountability in how insurance rates are set and why that is dangerous for the public.
The piece is called Small businesses need reforms in insurance and here's an excerpt:

Like insurance rates, health insurance rates for small businesses and individuals used to be subject to state Insurance Department approval before they went into effect. But the law expired in 2000, with devastating but predictable results. Premiums for small businesses soared 21 percent. At the same time, the percentage of their revenue that HMOs paid medical providers declined. As a result, HMOs, which provide more than one third of all private health insurance coverage in New York, and a substantial percentage of Medicaid and Medicare coverage, saw their profits shoot up 93 percent between 2001 and 2005. Meanwhile, New York's small businesses struggled with budget-busting increases, leaving some unable to continue providing coverage to employees at all.

What's the alternative to the onerous insurance burden on New York's small businesses and consumers? California's experience with insurance reform provides some insight into how improved public oversight can introduce transparency and accountability to the insurance marketplace, reining in runaway premiums.

Read the rest here.
For more on solutions to insurance industry price gouging check out our Marketplace of Ideas event with Harvey Rosenfield of The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 4:41 PM, Jul 23, 2007 in Governmental Reform | Insurance Industry | Middle-class squeeze | New York
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