Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — June 8, 2009

Business Council says real cost of health care must come down

ALBANY— New York should not return to a prior approval system which could politicize and artificially suppress heath insurance premium rates, The Business Council of New York State said, today, in testimony to the Assembly Insurance Committee. The Business Council did call for changes to give employers more notice of rate changes and to give the Insurance Superintendent clearer enforcement powers. The testimony was in opposition to a bill (A.8280/S.5470).

“To reduce the cost of health coverage and make it more affordable for more New Yorkers, we have to get to the real cost drivers,” said Kenneth Adams, president & CEO of The Business Council. “We believe that reinstating prior approval and giving the Superintendent of Insurance complete discretion to set rates is the wrong approach. It will not solve the problem of rising health insurance costs, but will only serve to mask the underlying costs.”

The Business Council testimony pointed out that government mandates on health plans and $4.2 billion in taxes on those plans, including $700 million enacted in this year's budget drive up costs.

The Business Council supports new requirements: that insurers provide at least 60 days written notice in advance of a rate change; raising the minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) from 75 percent to 80 percent for small group policies; clarifying how the MLR is to be calculated and expanding the enforcement authority of the Superintendent of Insurance over insurers who show deliberate non-compliance with the law.

The full Business Council testimony is available here.