The announcement is a victory for Obamacare, which Americans still view warily, according to polls. A Gallup poll last month found that 42 percent of respondents said Obamacare would make their lives tougher, compared with 22 percent who said it would improve their lives. The New York report provides evidence that Obamacare can drive costs down.
“For the individual market, which has always been really complex and really expensive, the Affordable Care Act is bringing down rates in states around the country – it’s introducing competition and bringing down costs for individuals,” says Eileen Elliott, a health care attorney with Dunkiel Saunders in Burlington, Vt.
But New York is not a typical case, others note. For one, the state has long required insurers to cover preexisting conditions – just as Obamacare now requires for the nation. It has also required more comprehensive care in individual plans than other states.
That means New York had instituted some of the most costly provisions in Obamacare before the federal law mandated them nationwide. Indeed, health insurance in the state has long been among the most expensive in the nation, especially for individuals. The average monthly premium for individuals in New York has been 66 percent higher than the national average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The result was that few New Yorkers bought health insurance unless they had to.