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What you need to know for 04/29/2017

New York gets a handle on health care costs

New York gets a handle on health care costs

Editorial: New cost review system works

Nationally, health care costs have moderated a bit the past few years, but in New York, they would have gone up an uncomfortable 12.4 percent last year if not for a new price review law put in place by the state a couple years ago.

According to the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, reviews by the state Department of Financial Services — formerly the state Banking and Insurance departments — resulted in rate hike requests totaling 12.4 percent being trimmed to 7.5 percent. That’s still quite a bit higher than the 4 percent increase in the national health care inflation rate, and the 2.3 percent general inflation rate, but at least some consolation.

In the Capital Region, the rate hike requests of two of the three principal insurers — CDPHP and MVP — were trimmed by relatively small percentages, but Empire’s was scaled back by fully one-half. The news was also especially good for small group plans, whose average 15.7 percent rate hike requests were scaled back to an average 9.5 percent.

Gov. Cuomo can take credit for the progress. But he might make even more headway with health care inflation if he figured out a way to get a single provider to handle coverage for all public workers. The state gets deals for buying everything from cars to office furniture in bulk, then passes the savings along to municipalities. It also manages a pension program for all state and municipal workers; couldn’t it do the same kind of thing for health insurance?

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