NY's low-cost health plan may drive up premiums

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New York's essential health insurance plan helps low-income individuals purchase coverage. However, it may increase premiums for others purchasing coverage through the state's exchange, the Observer-Dispatch reports.

The essential plan began this year to offer coverage to those ineligible for Medicaid but still earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Plans cost $0 to $20 per month.

The essential plan's low cost is drawing in young and healthy individuals with low incomes, according to state data. Fifty-nine percent of the 379,559 individuals who signed up for the essential plan this year were younger than 45. Comparatively, 45 percent of individuals who purchased qualified health plans were younger than 45.

To drive down cost, a mix of older and younger people is needed throughout the health insurance market, Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center for Public Policy, told the Observer-Dispatch. Mr. Hammond said insurers are considering the essential plan's impact when requesting rate increases. In response, the New York State Department of Health said the plan is providing health insurance to those who might not be able to afford it.

More articles about payer issues:
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Utah unconcerned about Humana's depature
Will ACA premium increases influence races for US Senate seats?

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