NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 20, 2009

How high is the cost of health care in New York City?  According to a New York Post analysis of new data from the state Insurance Department, it now costs more to buy health insurance than it does to rent a two-bedroom apartment.

Researchers found that the average monthly premium for family health coverage is $4,354, up 13 percent from last year.  That's more than the $3,947 monthly rent for a place in a no-doorman building downtown.

The jaw-dropping price follows years of double-digit rate increases as tens of thousands of healthy New Yorkers opt to drop coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker, costlier client pool.  Experts expect rates to rise again this year when companies pass along more than $853 million in insurance-related taxes included in the state budget, says the Post:

  • Of the eight companies still writing health policies in the Big Apple -- down from 13 in 2004 -- all but two have raised their rates in the past 12 months.
  • The leader was GHI HMO Select, which jacked up monthly premiums for those who choose to go out-of-network from $5,055 to $6,824 -- a 35 percent increase from last year.
  • GHI's partner, Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP), saw a 15 percent increase, increasing rates from $3,641 to $4,188.
  • Empire Healthchoice HMO actually cut rates 6 percent, from $4,321 to $4,066 and Managed Health kept premiums flat at $3,501 a month.

Premiums for those who agree to stay in-network were less expensive, but still on the rise, says the Post.  Atlantis Health Plan's in-network plan provided the cheapest family coverage, at $2,267 a month.  The average in-network family plan jumped from $2,624 to $2,966 last year -- or 13 percent.

Source: Editorial, "Report: NYC health insurance costlier than rent," Associated Press, April 20, 2009; based upon: Brendan Scott, "Insure Poorhouse," New York Post, April 20, 2009.

For New York Post text: 


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