Independent Health Announces Rate Decreases for 2021

Independent Health announces rate decreases for 2021 small group and individual products

BUFFALO, NY, August 13, 2020 - Independent Health’s commercial product offerings for 2021 will have something for almost everyone: the lowest rate adjustments in years and new products that build upon the company’s commitment to engage members and providers through innovation and technology.

The small group rates will drop an average of 2.7% from current levels, and the individual, direct-pay plans will decrease an average of 5.3%.

Independent Health’s 2021 rate adjustments are the lowest in several years due in large part to the results-oriented, value-based arrangements the company has established with physicians and hospitals aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of care through evidence-based, best-practice standards. Over the past year, these partnerships resulted in improved quality and outcomes, such as:

  • an increase in colorectal cancer screening by 5.5 percent.
  • an increase of nearly 4 percent in patients with heart disease who received statin therapy.
  • a 3 percent increase in the number of diabetic patients who received statin therapy to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Independent Health was able to lower its initial rate proposal of a 0.42% increase for small groups due to a favorable correction of the risk adjustment provision through New York State. Independent Health was notified of the risk adjustment correction after submitting its initial rate proposal.

“It has long been our belief at Independent Health that better quality care costs less in the long run, and we are seeing the results of these quality efforts,” said Nora McGuire, Independent Health’s chief marketing officer. “Our strong relationship with the Western New York provider community, which we’ve developed over the last 40 years has allowed us to work together to achieve better health, better care and lower costs for our members.”

New Products for 2021
Along with the minimal rate adjustments for 2021, Independent Health will augment its product portfolio with new products and features that will help to further engage members in their own health care and offer members easier, more convenient ways to interact with their physician.

“Our new products for 2021, which we will introduce in the coming weeks, bring new features unique in our region such as expanded, convenient virtual care, and opportunities to earn cash-back rewards for living healthy, receiving necessary preventive care, and even volunteering in the community,” said McGuire. “We will also offer roll-over first-dollar coverage in a deductible plan, and enhancements to our fully integrated Health Savings Account program.”

Independent Health will begin the annual open enrollment period on a strong note. The company was awarded the highest-ranked health insurance plan for member satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in New York State, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan StudySM. Findings from the J.D. Power study included Independent Health scored the highest in four of six categories (customer service; coverage and benefits; information and communication; and provider choice) among the plans surveyed in New York State. Independent Health's overall score was 783, which is 71 points above the state average score of 712 and a 36-point improvement over the company’s score from a year ago.

In addition, Independent Health was one of the highest-rated health insurance plans in the nation for clinical quality and member satisfaction, according to the 2019-2020 Private Health Insurance Plan Ratings by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private, leading organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA reviewed nearly 400 health plans throughout the country and rated each plan on a 5-point scale for consumer experience, prevention and treatment. Overall, Independent Health’s HMO/POS (Commercial/Private) plan received a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

“With our low rate adjustments for small groups and individuals, exciting new offerings for 2021, and our achievements in quality and member satisfaction, Independent Health is well positioned once again to provide our members with plans and programs to help them get and stay healthy,” said McGuire.