Buffalo News reports:

Those who buy health plans through New York State’s insurance marketplace will face extremes next time they shop – steep double-digit increases next year in some cases and modest price changes in others.

One major insurer – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York – seeks an average 48.8 percent increase in 2018 for individual health plans sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, as well as those purchased directly from insurers. But another, Univera Healthcare, looks for an average increase of only 4.4 percent for its individual plans.

Insurance companies here and elsewhere say rising medical and drug costs are pushing up premiums. But insurers also attribute the larger increases to government fees, taxes and policies.

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The rate requests filed with the state Department of Financial Services apply to private health plans that individuals buy and also plans for small groups of 100 or fewer people. The plans cover about 15,000 people in the eight-county Western New York region with individual policies, and 128,000 people insured in small groups. The requests do not apply to health plans for larger groups, self-insured groups, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, or the state’s Essential Plan.

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