Independent Health recently submitted its proposed 2022 small group premium rates to the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) for approval.

The company is requesting rate increases averaging only 0.13% for its small group products and an overall 0.25% decrease for its individual, direct-pay products for 2022.

Our proposed rates, if the DFS approves them with no changes, will be essentially flat from current levels for the second consecutive year.

How did we get to this point? Independent Health has always taken an actuarially sound approach to rating all our products. Our focus on value and consistent discipline have helped us avoid unanticipated and extreme swings in our rate adjustments. This approach, combined with our collaborative initiatives with providers and hospitals, has again enabled us to deliver minimal rate adjustments at this critical time, as small businesses and their employees continue to deal with the after-effects and financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiatives that enabled us to deliver our 2022 proposed premium rates included the following:

  • Care transitions: We collaborated with hospital systems and independent physician associations to use appropriate care transition practices following an inpatient admission. Our value-based payment arrangements helped to reduce readmissions overall, as well as to increase medication reconciliation and timely follow-up after discharge. Through this collaboration, we were able to ensure our members received appropriate care after leaving the hospital. As a result, we achieved a nearly19% decrease in preventable admissions and a 9% decrease in readmissions last year. This decrease in admissions resulted in an estimated cost-avoidance savings of nearly $7 million dollars.
  • Medication adherence: Efforts to ensure our members with heart disease or diabetes take their statins resulted in a three-percentage point increase in the number of members with diabetes or cardiovascular disease taking these medications. In addition, we focused on ensuring members with depression were compliant with their medications, which resulted in a two-percentage point increase in medication adherence for antidepressants.
  • Preventive care efforts: Nearly 70% of our members had a preventive care visit, which enabled their primary care physicians to ensure that their health and well-being were on track, despite the challenges of the year. We also helped to increase childhood and adolescent immunizations.

Looking ahead, Independent Health is heavily focused on improving the way members manage chronic conditions and to help them get and stay healthy:

  • We have also invested in numerous innovative mobile applications and tools – like the Brook Health Companion, Foodsmart, and Teladoc – to help them make better decisions about their health.  

Our efforts go beyond our membership as well.  As Western New York’s only locally based health plan, Independent Health invests in wide-ranging initiatives through corporate partnerships and programs that engage the entire community in improving their health and wellbeing, with the goal of creating a culture of health throughout the region.

Despite the challenges we have faced as a community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our commitment to achieving better health, better care and lower costs for our members has not wavered. Independent Health has a longstanding reputation as one of the top health insurance plans for customer service and member satisfaction in the nation.