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New York state exchange rates to vary widely

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Some New York state health insurers will be charging almost twice as much for exchange coverage as their competitors.

The New York State Department of Financial Services detailed the differences, showing how much the 17 carriers participating in the state’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange system will be charging for individual and small-group coverage.

New York is running its own exchange program as well as setting up eight regional ones.

The list of carriers expecting to sell coverage through the state’s exchange system includes Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), the Empire BlueCross BlueShield unit of WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP), a number of local and regional carriers, and the Freelancers Co-Op, one of the new nonprofit, member-owned carriers to be created by PPACA.

At the richest, “platinum level” of coverage, individual rates for all regions will range from about $424 per month, at the Freelancers CO-OP plan, to about $914 per month at a plan run by a unit of UnitedHealth.

At the individual bronze-level, statewide average monthly rates will range from $252, at the Freelancers CO-OP, up to $548, at the UnitedHealth unit.

Similarly, in New York City, individual bronze-level rates will run from $308 at New York Fidelis to $548 at the UnitedHealth unit.

In New York City, customers who go off the exchange could pay even more — up to about $590 per month — for a policy not available through the exchange.

Prices variations will be similar in the small-group market, with small-group platinum coverage selling for $462 to $775 per single adult on the exchange statewide. For small-group bronze coverage, exchange rates would range from $275 to $474.

New York officials have left the effects of federal subsidies for low-income and moderate-income consumers out of the premium tables.

Benjamin Lawsky, the state’s Financial Services superintendent, said in a statement that he hopes the exchanges will help consumers and small businesses get better coverage prices.

“New York will continue to move ahead rapidly so the exchange is up and running for 2014,” Lawsky said.

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