Page 2 HealthCare Provider August 9, 2013
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 17 an-nounced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has ap-proved health-insurance plan rates for 17 insurers seeking to offer cover-age through the New York Health Benefit Exchange.
The state approved the rates for health plans that serve subscribers in Central
New York, including Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS), the regions largest health insurer.
DFS also approved the rates for Schenectadybased MVP Health Care; Minnetonka, Minn.based UnitedHealthcare; Hartford, Conn.based Aetna, Inc.; and Albanybased Capital
District Physicians Health Plan, Inc.The state exchange will organize the
plans in four metal tiers (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum), which is supposed to allow consumers and businesses to make a comparison.
The plans within each metal tier will have standardized contract terms and prod-uct offerings, which is meant to encourage price competition among insurers, the gov-ernors office said.
Previously, New York insurers offered more than 15,000 plans that widely var-ied in the level and quality of coverage provided, which encouraged competition through confusion and made it difficult for purchasers to effectively compare plans side by side, the governor contends.
On average, the approved 2014 rates for the highest tier of plans that individual New York consumers could purchase on the ex-change (gold and platinum) represent a 53 percent reduction compared to last years direct-pay individual health-insurance rates, the governors office asserts.
The state attributes the lower rates to the
expected rise in uninsured New Yorkers buying coverage in the individual health-insurance market due to the health-care laws mandate that individuals purchase insurance starting next year. New Yorks current individual health-insurance market is relatively small.
The state also notes that the 53 percent reduction does not include the effect of federal subsidies for individuals meeting certain income thresholds who are pur-chasing coverage on the exchange, which could lower their costs even further.
Health-care insurance costs per capita in New York currently run about 18 percent higher than the national average, as the state mandates that insurers cover pre-existing conditions and a variety of medical conditions and services not mandated in other states, while not currently requiring individuals to buy health insurance.
But the average approved rates for the benchmark individual silver plan in New York in 2014 would be in line with (or near-ly 10 percent lower) than the nationwide average that the Congressional Budget
Office (CBO) previously forecast for the full implementation of the federal health-care reform law, Cuomos office said.
For approved 2014 small-group plan rates, existing premium rates do not pro-vide a functional year-over-year compari-son, the state asserts.
In 2013, insurers offered more than 15,000 different small-group plans that significantly varied in terms of the quality and level of coverage provided. This year, insurers are offering standardized contracts and product offerings within metal tiers (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum), the state said.
The approved small-group rates, how-ever, are generally lower than indicated by the estimates of other independent fore-casters, the governors office contends.
The average approved small-group rate in New York for the benchmark silver plan is well below, or nearly 32 percent lower, than the nationwide average previ-ously forecast by the independent CBO, notwithstanding the relatively higher per capita health-care costs in New York com-pared to other states, according to the governors news release.
A number of small businesses will be eli-gible for tax credits that would lower those premium costs even further, according to the governors office.
Contact Reinhardt at [email protected]
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New York approves rates for 17 health insurers in upcoming benefit exchange
ERIC REINHARDTJOURNAL STAFF
St. Josephs to join 2nd largest Catholic health-care systemExpects to finalize agreement with CHE Trinity Health in about two to five months
SYRACUSE St. Josephs Hospital Health Center has agreed to join the second-biggest Catholic health-care sys-tem in the nation, in a move to boost its standing in the changing health-care market as the national health-reform law is implemented.
St. Josephs Hospital on July 10 announced its intention to join Livonia, Mich.based Catholic Health East (CHE) Trinity Health,
which provides health-care services in 21 states via 82 hospitals and 89 other facilities and programs. The board of directors of both organizations signed a non-binding let-ter of intent (LOI) the day before.
St. Josephs expects to finalize the agree-ment with CHE Trinity in about two to five months, according to Kathryn Ruscitto, president and CEO of St. Josephs Hospital Health Center.
The move will shift the sponsorship of St. Josephs Hospital from the Sisters of
See ST. JOSEPHS, page 6
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ERIC REINHARDTJOURNAL STAFF
HealthCare Provider Page 3August 9, 2013
CAMILLUS Associates for Womens Medicine (AWM), which provides obstetrics and gynecolo-gy services, has opened a new office in Camillus, the fifth site for the practice in Central New York.
The medical practice is now serving patients in an 1,800-square-foot space at Medical Center West at 5700 W. Genesee St. in Camillus.
AWM opened its newest facility to meet the needs of its pa-tients on the west side of Syracuse, says Dana Karanik, administrator
for the practice. We had a lot of patients on that side
of town, and we didnt have a location out there, says Karanik, who was speaking from her office at the AWM location at 770 James St. in Syracuse.
Besides Camillus and Syracuse, AWM also operates offices at 792 1/2 North Main St. at Village Medical Park in Cicero, 4820 W. Taft Rd. in Clay, and 4302 Medical Center Dr. at Northeast Medical Center in
Fayetteville, according to its website.The Syracuse and Cicero offices are the
largest of the five facilities and are consid-ered the main offices, Karanik says.
AWM officials began mulling establishing a location in Camillus during the latter half of 2012.
It actually happened pretty quickly, Karanik says.
The practice hopes to add space at its Camillus location in the months ahead, she says.
AWM declined to disclose information about its lease terms.
Karanik also wouldnt disclose how much it cost the practice to open the Camillus office.
I dont feel comfortable divulging the exact amount, but we did set up a budget and we were happy that we were able to accomplish that goal, Karanik says. She also declined to disclose how the practice financed the opening of the Camillus loca-tion.
AWM moved into space from Hematology/Oncology Associates of Central New York, P.C. after it scaled back operations and didnt need as much space, according to Karanik.
We utilized mostly what was already
there. We had very little build out when we assumed the space, Karanik says.
Harmony Architectural Associates, PC
of Syracuse served as the architect on the space, Karanik says. Rich & Gardner Construction Co. was the contractor on the project.
Karanik declined to disclose the cost of the site preparation.
Associates for Womens Medicine in-cludes board-certified obstetricians and gy-necologists, along with licensed midwives and other professional staff providing care for patients.
The practice also provides some imag-ing services, blood testing, and office-based surgery at the Fayetteville location.
Several providers joined together in 2000 to create the present practice, Karanik says.
Eight physicians serve on the practices board of directors including Dr. Richard Waldman, who serves as board president; Dr. James Brown, the board vice pres