New York Orders Health Insurers (Including Nonprofits) to Pay Back Consumers

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November 9, 2011; Source: Bloomberg NewsGovernor Cuomo has ordered 11 health insurers, including those that are “nonprofit,” to pay back millions in customer overcharges. Specifically, Cuomo is ordering the insurers to pay back $114.5 million, because the companies in question spent less than 82 cents of each dollar on health care. The organization with the second highest payback to be made is Excellus Health Plan, a nonprofit Blue Cross organization based in Albany. Excellus will be required to repay $21.4 million. “In this economic climate, every penny counts and in this case, insurance companies were overcharging New Yorkers to the tune of millions of dollars,” Governor Cuomo said. “This should serve as a message to companies that we are watching, and we will not tolerate any action that wrongly hurts the finances of the people of New York.”

NPQ has been following the coverage of nonprofit insurers for the past year, looking at multiple issues for which they are being called to task, including: high executive compensation, payments to board members for their trusteeship, the building of reserves that are much higher than the levels that are recommended. This last, of course, is particularly galling at a time when many small businesses, including nonprofits, are bending under the weight of premium costs. —Ruth McCambridge