cardiogram-pulse-trace-1461880398nt8-300x200-8058917The state’s employer-sponsored health insurance premiums spiked by more than 10 percent in 2017, leaving New Yorkers with the some of the highest coverage costs in the contiguous United States.

Among private-sector employers, the state’s average single-coverage premium last year rose to $7,309, second only to Alaska at $7,694, according to just-released survey data from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

While nationwide single premiums increased 4.3 percent, New York’s jumped 10.9 percent.

New York’s average family premium was $21,317, which rose by 10 percent and ranked third behind Alaska and Wyoming.

screen-shot-2018-07-16-at-4-47-42-pm-6046014
Source: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (click to enlarge)

 

The surge follows a lull in 2016, when employer-sponsored premiums dipped slightly and the state’s single-coverage premiums dropped to fifth-highest in the U.S.

While New York’s premiums have long been high by national standards, the affordability gap appears to getting larger. New York’s single-coverage costs were 15 percent higher than U.S. average in 2017, the greatest difference since at least 1996. The state’s No. 2 ranking for single coverage compares to 18th in 2003 and 10th in 2010.

The trend adds to evidence that aggressive price regulation by the state Department of Financial Services, under a so-called prior approval law reinstated in 2010, has not been effective in controlling costs.

screen-shot-2018-07-17-at-8-04-55-am-6137854
Source: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (click to enlarge)

 

Among the factors driving New York’s high premiums include heavy state taxes on health insurance and an ever-growing list of state-imposed coverage mandates.

New York’s high costs are also partly explained by relatively rich benefits. Only 75 percent of New Yorkers with private-sector employer-provided coverage had a deductible, compared to a national average of 88 percent. And for those who had deductibles, the amount was relatively small: $1,687 compared to a U.S. average of $1,808.

The average employee contribution for health coverage, at 21.5 percent, was close to the national average of 22.2 percent.

The share of New Yorkers who work at private-sector firms offering health coverage is 88 percent, the fifth highest rate in the country. But the share of employees who enroll, at 53 percent, is the fifth lowest. The net result is that the share of New York’s private-sector workers with employer-provided coverage, at 46 percent, is lower than the U.S. average of 48 percent.

This may be explained by a combination of New York’s relatively high costs and the broad availability of state-sponsored coverage through Medicaid and the Essential Plan.

About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

You may also like

The state puts a pricey condition on its approval of a heart transplant center

In a provocative flex of executive power, the state Health Department is requiring a hospital system to spend $50 million on health care in Brooklyn and Queens if it wants to open an $8.4 million heart transplant center in Manhattan. Read More

The Essential Plan’s accumulated surplus balloons to $8 billion, with no fix in sight

The state's Essential Plan has generated billions in surpluses as the program automatically drew pandemic relief money that it did not need Read More

New federal health funding is headed for Essential Plan limbo in New York

Washington's newly enacted climate, health and tax package harbors an only-in-New York glitch: It pours even more money into the state's Essential Plan, which is sitting on a multi-billion-dollar surplus that officials have Read More

New York’s health insurance price controls are not working

In what has become a rite of summer, the state Department of Financial Services on Wednesday approved substantially higher health insurance premiums for 2023 Read More

New York’s health insurance affordability problem gets worse

New York's health insurance affordability gap surged to a new high last year, with state residents paying an average of 16 percent more. Read More

New York’s Medicaid costs are soaring at double-digit rates

New York's already high Medicaid spending is growing at a double-digit rate for the second year in a row, recently released state figures show. After dipping during the first year o Read More

As the session winds down, watch for health costs to go up

The closing days of the legislative session could prove costly for New York health insurance consumers as lawmakers push a raft of proposals that would make coverage more expensive, harder to find, or both. Read More

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!