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Funds Will Help Offset Rate Increases for Individuals and Small Groups

New York, December 9, 1998

As part of the state’s ongoing commitment to reducing health care costs, Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that he has ordered the distribution of $35.9 million to New York State health insurers to curb increases in 1999 rates for individual and small group policyholders. These funds represent excess monies that have accumulated in risk sharing pools funded by insurance carriers established in accordance with New York State Law.

"Once again, we are able to reduce health care costs for consumers in New York State by distributing surplus funds from these pools directly to health insurers," said Levin. "Thanks to Governor Pataki’s leadership, we are directing insurers to use these funds to offset rate increases – proving that our efforts to contain costs and provide quality care are working."

Today’s distribution of $35.9 million is part of the Department’s larger effort to use surplus funds from the pools to minimize rate increases statewide.

Levin announced in April that the Department was distributing more than $110 million overall to insurers in an effort to stem health insurance costs and the rates that are charged by insurers. A portion of those excess funds have already prevented significant rate increases by Oxford Health Plans and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthnet for individuals who are not covered by a group and pay for the premiums out of pocket. Another portion of the funds went toward reducing premium rates for seniors with existing Medicare supplemental contracts.

The health insurance pools were set up to promote stability in the marketplace and while these pools continue to make payments to certain carriers, there has been a surplus over the past five years.

Department of Financial Services


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