Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT. …Really, though?

posted at 1:21 pm on July 18, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

News stories about rising premium prices for health insurance plans have been erupting all over the country for awhile now, especially on those plans meant for young, healthier, and lower-risk people shopping in the individual market; back in March, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally admitted that the increasingly widespread phenomenon of rising premiums is, in fact, at least partially due to ObamaCare, and from coast to coast, that whole “affordable” promise is indeed looking worse and worse.

On Wednesday, however, the New York Times’ big and highly cited story was all about how the wise and magnanimous auspices of the Affordable Care Act are helping to dramatically lower health insurance premiums for New Yorkers, according to figures from the Cuomo administration:

State insurance regulators say they have approved rates for 2014 that are at least 50 percent lower on average than those currently available in New York. Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to shop for health insurance for as little as $308 monthly. With federal subsidies, the cost will be even lower. …

“Health insurance has suddenly become affordable in New York,” said Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president for health initiatives with the Community Service Society of New York. “It’s not bargain-basement prices, but we’re going from Bergdorf’s to Filene’s here.”

“The extraordinary decline in New York’s insurance rates for individual consumers demonstrates the profound promise of the Affordable Care Act,” she added.

Which certainly sounds awesome, except that the state of New York already has a convoluted, bureaucratic, and heavily regulated health care system and has been running some of the highest individual market premiums in the country for about two decades. It’s gotten so bad, there really isn’t much room for their premium prices to go anywhere but down at this point, and the NYT definitely misrepresented ObamaCare’s impact. Avik Roy has their number over at Forbes:

The other approach is to do what Obamacare does: to impose an individual mandate that dragoons the healthy into subsidizing the sick, and to subsidize the cost of the inflated health premiums for some low-income individuals, so at least they can afford coverage. …

As a result, Obamacare does have the effect of lowering premiums in New York, to a weighted average of $301 a month: a 39 percent decrease from 2013 rates, and a 16 percent decrease from 2010 rates. …

It’s always better to see rates go down rather than up, but you have to remember the context. New York’s rates will still be three times higher than those found in California before Obamacare. And the Times inflated the impact of the ACA, implying that average premiums in New York City exceed $1,000 today vs. $308 under Obamacare; by our analysis, using a fairer comparison, the five-borough average for affordable coverage was $695, with a much lower average upstate.

It was a good try, though — goodness knows ObamaCare supporters are certainly on the hunt for some much-needed little victories.


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It’s better than that; They’ll drop 100% – that’s because no company will sell individual health insurance policies after 1/1/14. Including mine.

Bastards.

Rixon on July 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT.

portlandon on July 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

The cost to employees for HC at my company was between $200-$400 per year. Now the cost from these “exchanges” is around $300 PER MONTH.

I hate liberals/progressives.

kirkill on July 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Pipe dream

Bmore on July 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I thought it was free?

Wat dis “preemie” stuff you dissin bout?—Rachel Gentel responds to news of Healthcare premiums still being in ObamaCare.

PappyD61 on July 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

It was a good try, though — goodness knows ObamaCare supporters are certainly on the hunt for some much-needed little victories.

Little victories like pointing out that each family will be getting a free pen when they sign up for Obamacare. You didn’t have that pen before the ACA!

Happy Nomad on July 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

I believe all of the current liberal journalists have graduated from the same school as Baghdad Bob. Or Jay Carney, but I repeat myself!!

Deano1952 on July 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

NY premiums fall 2,500% just like Obama promised!

bearpaw on July 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT. …Really, though?

See I’m not worried about Obamacare. I like my existing doctor and plan. And since I won’t be paying one more dime in premiums under Obamacare, I should be pretty well set. ;-0

Happy Nomad on July 18, 2013 at 1:33 PM

“It’s not bargain-basement prices, but we’re going from Bergdorf’s to Filene’s here.”

That’s appropriate. Filene’s Basement went bankrupt in 2009.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 18, 2013 at 1:36 PM

The cost to employees for HC at my company was between $200-$400 per year. Now the cost from these “exchanges” is around $300 PER MONTH.

I hate liberals/progressives.

kirkill on July 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I particularly love the way this administration from the rat-eared mullato on down act as if everything is running better than they had reason to expect. That Obamacare is going to be super awesome for everybody.

Happy Nomad on July 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

The fact of the matter is that ANY little victory for the ObamaCare supporters, is a HUGE, GLARING, MASSIVE defeat for individual freedom, personal liberty, and all other Americans.

Meople on July 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM

This only applies to those who purchase their own insurance, which is a tiny minority in NYS. Most get it through their employers. But that is all about to change when Obamacare kicks in and millions are dumped onto the exchanges.

Missy on July 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM

OT – Police state of the USSA

Schadenfreude on July 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM

It’s better than that; They’ll drop 100% – that’s because no company will sell individual health insurance policies after 1/1/14. Including mine.

Rixon on July 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Well, it should be easy to find replacement coverage, since other carriers are apparently coming into the market:

Officials at the state Department of Financial Services say they have approved 17 insurers to sell individual coverage through the New York exchange, including eight that are just entering the state’s commercial market

.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/health/health-plan-cost-for-new-yorkers-set-to-fall-50.html?_r=3&

cam2 on July 18, 2013 at 1:41 PM

This NYT analysis is horses$&t.

A man has a job and buys his meals with his salary.

Man loses job and goes on food stamps.

Food stamps decrease food bills 100%……..except for the taxpayers and future generations that are responsible for 100% of those bills.

David in ATL on July 18, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Even if individual plans do drop 50%, they’re still going to be more expensive for the individual than employer-subsidized plans. Most employers pay 80% of the total cost. When employees are dumped en masse onto the exchanges, the employee will be paying 100% of the total cost.

Missy on July 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Where premiums decrease, benefits seem to as well. Those are the apples needing comparison.

hillsoftx on July 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Bob Beckel said something I question last night. He stated that he was already a beneficiary of Obamacare because he had a pre-existing condition. However that would mean that he changed plans during the year. Why? It would also mean that he was not a member of the Fox NewsCorp very large group plan. Why?

pat on July 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT.

portlandon on July 18, 2013 at 1:28 PM

…you beat me to it!

KOOLAID2 on July 18, 2013 at 1:54 PM

OT:

Humpbot in danger!

BobMbx on July 18, 2013 at 1:57 PM

50%?

I was told they were going to drop 3000%.

Liars.

BobMbx on July 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

NYT, the purveyor of rancid left wing BS and other obfuscating crap.

rplat on July 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

All mumbo-jumbo. If premium goes down 39%, but that same person is a business owner or impacted by one of the other 14 ways of being O=taxed, how is that consequence not calculated into the total “cost” to the insured? Awesome, you saved him $150 per mo on premium, but his tax bill year end went up $200 per mo.

Math, not their strong suit.

hillsoftx on July 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

So, in other words, the average price of individual heath insurance premiums in New York dropped significantly due to Obamacare.

Excellent analysis, conservatives! With this kind of analysis, we will win back the country in no time.

Mr. Arkadin on July 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

This is huge for New Yorkers and a huge marketing stat for Obamacare. The idea that “well, it was already so expensive because of regulation” and the fact that the savings may be unique to NY will not stop the feds from using this example to sell how awesome it is. And people are going to eat it up too. I expect dramatic shifts in support for ACA based on this.

Whatever. There was never any hope for this country before this article and this article doesn’t change anything.

hisfrogness on July 18, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT. …Really, though?

Any article from the NYT concerning economic predictions
I always file in this folder:

Paul Krugman World of Delusion Memo #3026

ToddPA on July 18, 2013 at 2:07 PM

The fact is that many people believe they are going to get a free Obamacare card that they use to get free doctor visits and free meds.

Go ahead and ask around. They do.

Moesart on July 18, 2013 at 2:10 PM

What an odd post. The headline and tone preview a debunking of the NYT’s report, but no such debunking occurs. Even Roy’s analysis confirms that premiums dropped dramatically.

Equally odd is Roy’s complaint that the mandate “dragoons the healthy to subsidize the sick.” That is how health functions (with the understanding, of course, that those healthy people may one day become sick themselves).

righty45 on July 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM

That is how health insurance functions*

righty45 on July 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT. …Really, though?

This really could happen if this was truly a free market system. If a Sam Walton of insurance came on the scene now undercutting the Big Boys and allowing for more competition, rates would drop drastically.

Of course, all of your insurance reps would be in China, though.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Rates will fall 50%?

Wow! Is that before or after they “Death Panel” off all the old sick folks and replace medical doctors with high school biology majors?

Don L on July 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!

Doubleplus good, that. More good news brothers and sisters! It has also been announced that the chocolate ration has been raised from 3.0 ounces per week to 2.5 ounces! On another note the New York Times will now be known as the Ministry of Truth or Minitruth.

Oldnuke on July 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Premiums for New Yorkers to fall 50 percent thanks to ObamaCare!, says the NYT. …Really, though? …. a 39 percent decrease

kunegetikos on July 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

^ post summary

kunegetikos on July 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

We banter here about the reality and it is seen by very few.

The Progressives spread the NY Times piece like wildfire on Facebook so that millions become true believers.

For them, reality matters not, since most won’t be in the individual marketplace.

What they “know” is that Obamcare has lowered rates. The read it on Facebook. End of story.

Again, as always, the Progressive win the messaging war.

Carnac on July 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

What your premium costs depends on what you get in it. I think they mean if you (an individual purchaser) do not renew the policy that you have now, you can satisfy the requirement to have insurance by purchasing your policy thru the health care marketplace, and you can pick one that costs half of what the one you have now costs.

It will not be the same policy as far as I can figure, it will suit the standards set out by HHS, like having the no copay contraceptives and whateverthehellelse Madame Secretary wants you to have…but those other things you want that she thinks you don’t need or she might tax you for, I am not sure that is going to be in the cheaper policy, especially a difference in your copays for things, I think they want you to have a high deductible, when you might not have had that with your expensive policy. I don’t think it is apples to apples in this comparison, just that this new policy counts with the feds, so they are concluding you don’t “have” to pay more. I think they want everyone to pay the first $500. at the hospital if you are not on Medicaid.

This is NYS, and they have plenty of insurance and high total coverage amounts now. They are also keeping a NYS law that allows groups of like minded self employed people, accountants, artists, plumbers, can be in a group and have their own group rates.

Fleuries on July 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

replace medical doctors with high school biology majors?

Don L on July 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

The insurance companies themselves have been doing that for over twenty years through their HMOs…having their agents second guess and override MD’s recommendations to save money, because in fact many MDs were indeed charging for un-needed services, services that were never provided, or over-charging. But not all of the MDs were doing this…and it didn’t matter if this was big problem or a small problem. The point is, they got away with it and became more profitable.

We’ve entered into an era where businesses get big enough where they find losses unacceptable. Losses and gains are part and parcel of the Capitalist system. But when you can lobby and bribe officials, you can reduce those losses. Insurance rates skyrocket mostly because the insurance companies are not willing to absorb losses, but rather pass those losses on to customers.

If you own your own store, and thieves break in and clean it out some night, you re-stock. Then you increase your prices on everything by 20% to “cover my losses”. Tell me, how long are you going to be in business? But if you get your buddies down at city hall to pass a law saying that EBT cards can only be used in your store, well, problem solved!

It also seems that as businesses sell less, they charge more…to “cover their losses”. It’s increasingly an upside down system.

Obamacare is nothing but a huge HMO that the insurance companies helped to put into place. Of course prices are going to go up and coverage is going to become more minimal because it’s a monopoly and a money-skimming operation. It’s like a huge casino where the house is guaranteed to always be the winner.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

What they “know” is that Obamcare has lowered rates. The read it on Facebook. End of story.

Again, as always, the Progressive win the messaging war.

Carnac on July 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM

The insurance companies are winning, too. They are willing accomplices in all this, so I’m not buying into the argument that they and their customers could do better if the Commies would just stay out of it. We need to quit this knee-jerk defense of private operations just because they have “Inc.” after their name. Once they collude with government they’ve left the free enterprise system.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Deano1952 on July 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

They did. It’s called schools of journalism that have been teaching in progressive lockstep for at least 50 years. Though schools of “education” have that beat. They’ve been at it nearly 120 years.

chemman on July 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

The insurance companies are winning, too. They are willing accomplices in all this, so I’m not buying into the argument that they and their customers could do better if the Commies would just stay out of it. We need to quit this knee-jerk defense of private operations just because they have “Inc.” after their name. Once they collude with government they’ve left the free enterprise system.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Yes, but remember that prior to their collusion they were probably told in so many words “nice company you have there; shame if anything were to happen to it.” Go along or we will crush you. That was the context of the decision they made.

They only “win” in that they are able to buy some time. If Obamacare is fully implemented it will eventually destroy the health insurance industry altogether. Which of course was the goal all along.

Missy on July 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

The Old Gray Whore – don’t worry about the facts, just LIE! The low info voters don’t care.

GarandFan on July 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

All she needs is “spring time in germany in nazi germany” playing in the background to add to the farce of this administration.

Mel brooks would have been proud

acyl72 on July 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

That Avik Roy link goes to the wrong article. A very good and relevant piece, but not the NYT debunking.

Here’s the correct link:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/07/18/the-new-york-times-tries-and-fails-to-save-obamacare-from-health-insurance-rate-shock/

visions on July 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

If the Forbes take-down is accurate, the NYT should be happy. The problem is that none of these scenarios take into account the full and hidden costs of ACA. There is no way this makes things better or cheaper. The true analysis has yet to be written, or at least has not been written here.

paul1149 on July 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

It’s funny they print this bogus story right when Obama is making a major push to tout the benefits of Obamacare…and we’re supposed to believe there isn’t any collusion between them going on?

blue13326 on July 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM

I am a New Yorker. Assuming Avik Roy is correct, Obamacare will lower my premium by approx. 39%. Tell me again, how is this a bad thing?

cam2 on July 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

I am a New Yorker. Assuming Avik Roy is correct, Obamacare will lower my premium by approx. 39%. Tell me again, how is this a bad thing?

cam2 on July 18, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Do you purchase your own insurance or do you have insurance through your employer? If the answer is employer, this premium-lowering does not apply to you. It only applies to those who purchase their own plans.

Missy on July 18, 2013 at 4:04 PM

If New York had made abortion as “safe, legal, and rare” as individual health policies, millions of babies would be alive today.

The fact is that the State mandates all sorts of expensive options like mental health treatments and substance abuse programs – including tobacco – that may or may not suit your needs, but of course you are required to pay for anyway. In order to make this more palatable, they also relaxed the requirements for a “group” policy. Almost any collection of individuals can qualify as a group and get the discounts group insurance offers.

This leaves the individual market tiny – and prohibitively priced. No other state has created these conditions. So it is no surprise the addition of subsidies lowers the costs, is it? Besides, as has been pointed out, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison anyway, so it is more or less just more disinformation from NYT.

Adjoran on July 18, 2013 at 4:36 PM

If New York had made abortion as “safe, legal, and rare” as individual health policies, millions of babies would be alive today.

Adjoran on July 18, 2013 at 4:36 PM

LOL.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM

>because no company will sell individual health insurance policies after 1/1/14. Including mine.

Really, Rixon? Care to make it interesting?

inklake on July 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM