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August 13, 2021

Premium Rates Approved for 2022

Independent Health to offer among the lowest overall small group and individual plan premium rates in Western New York

Buffalo, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has approved Independent Health’s small group and individual plan premium rates for the 2022 plan year. The overall rate for small group products will essentially remain flat in 2022 (only a 0.13% increase), while individual, direct-pay products premiums will decrease by an average of 4.4%.

With the DFS’s rate review process now complete, Independent Health’s average premium plan rates will be among the lowest in both the Western New York small group and individual plan markets for 2022.

“As the only true local health plan, Independent Health is pleased to be able to offer our community high-quality products with low premium rates at this critical time,” said Richard Argentieri, senior vice president, chief sales & marketing officer, Independent Health. “As small businesses and our members continue to deal with the after-effects and financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand it’s more important than ever to offer affordable health care options. With that in mind, we will also be lowering members’ out-of-pocket costs by reducing copayments and deductibles for some of our most popular small group plans.”

According to Argentieri, Independent Health’s 2022 premium rates reflect the company’s successful efforts to drive down health care costs through strong partnerships with the Western New York provider community and a variety of a medical and pharmacy management and member engagement initiatives.

“Our employers and members are concerned about health care affordability and we’re doing everything we can to address those concerns and ease their mind,” said Argentieri. “Over the last several years, we have doubled down on our efforts to achieve better health, better care and lower costs. By partnering with doctors and hospitals, we have been able to maintain lower trends in overall cost and utilization.”

Independent Health also remains heavily focused on improving the way members manage chronic conditions. This includes diabetes, which is the top health care cost driver in the nation. Due to the rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Western New York, Independent Health has introduced a CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program called Brook+. This virtual, year-long lifestyle change program is available as a covered benefit with a $0 member cost share under all of Independent Health’s fully insured commercial and Medicare Advantage plans.

“Offering an innovative program like Brook+ is just the latest way we’re trying to address the increasing medical and financial burdens that diabetes is having on our members, employers and overall healthcare system,” said Argentieri. “Through fully digital delivery and on-demand content, Brook+ provides members with the tools and personal coaching they need to adopt healthier habits and potentially cut their risk of developing diabetes in half. Although it was just launched in January, more than 3,800 members are already actively participating in Brook+. We expect that number to only grow, which should go a long way in helping us further bend the diabetes cost trend.”

In addition to low premium rates, copayments and deductibles, Independent Health’s plans will continue to offer the greatest level of value through a variety of unique benefits and resources, such as:

  • Innovative mobile applications and online tools – Brook Health Companion, Foodsmart™ and FitWorks® – to help our members make better decisions about their health.
  • Our Nutrition Benefit, which rewards members for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables, and our $250 Health ExtrasSM Card, which can be used toward a variety of health and wellness services.
  • Our telemedicine benefit provided through Teladoc® that connects members with a doctor at any time, from anywhere for little to no cost whenever they have a question or concern pertaining to their health and their primary care physician is not available. Our members can also use Teladoc to receive consultation for the treatment of dermatological and behavioral health (mental health and substance use) conditions.

Plus, Independent Health’s innovative thRed plan will be available to all large group, small group and individual plan members in 2022. This is the first health plan in our market that unites a member, their primary care physician (PCP) and the health plan through our MyIH app. With thRed, members are ensured of working closely with a PCP and their care team through partnership with General Physician, Primary Care. thRed also includes up to $550 in rewards that supplement an employer’s health and wellness strategy with a tangible, extra incentive to get and stay healthy.

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