New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Wednesday that prices for individual health insurance policies are on the brink of plunging 50 percent or more thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
A spokesperson for the governor's office told The New York Times that the new rates mean that individuals with health policies currently running over $1,000 a month will soon be facing bills up to just $308, and even less after a subsidy from what critics have dubbed "Obamacare."
The change comes thanks to New York's online insurance exchange, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that forces insurers to compete with one another. The 2014 rates were approved for the marketplace by New York's insurance regulator on Wednesday, and should be in effect by October. The news can only sound like relief to the 18 percent of New Yorkers who are either uninsured or pay for an individual policy -- a pool of just over 2.6 million people, the Times estimated.
The state shelled out more for health care per capita than almost any other state in the nation in 2009, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. New York's per capita health spending was only topped in 2009 by Delaware, Maine, Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., Kaiser noted. The nation's third most populous state also found itself in second place that same year for overall health care spending, Kaiser pointed out. In that category, New York ended up just behind California in 2009, despite having nearly 20 million fewer people to care for.
Of course, if you're living in a state with a Republican governor like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is refusing to implement key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, don't just up and move quite yet. A study published earlier this month by the Economic Policy Institute found that New York City has one of the highest costs-of-living of any city in the nation, particularly for working families with children. EPI added that the biggest expenses for New York families are most often child care, housing and health insurance.
For people living in 24 states like Texas, Oklahoma, Florida or Wisconsin, where Republican governors are refusing to set up the federally-mandated health insurance exchanges, hold on tight: the Obama administration is setting up exchanges that supersede the states, and Americans should be able to buy discounted health insurance by this time next year.
[A doctor examines a patient at Community Health of South Florida on February 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (AFP)]