EasyChoice Makes Bid To Dominate New York Insurance Market
While other health insurance companies are raising their rates, EasyChoice refuses to join the party.
It can happen again.
A small, unknown insurance company can come from nowhere and dominate their industry.
It happens all the time. In just about every industry; Technology, Manufacturing, Automobiles, Energy and so on.
Think back about 5 years ago, when every insurance company was frantically raising their group health insurance rates to unprecedented levels. Out of the blue, a little known insurance company named HealthNet, held the line on rate increases and became one of the dominant insurance companies in the Tri-State area.
HealthNet offered their group insurance plans at 25% below what their peers were charging. Healthnet’s profits soared. Their company grew and their membership doubled in 2 years. This unknown insurance company rose out of obscurity to become one of the top insurance companies in New York.
Why? Because while every insurance company was doing the same thing – raising rates – HealthNet decided they would do the very opposite. Smart.
Unfortunately, the HealthNet story does not have a happy ending. United HealthCare, the giant insurer, saw how profitable HealthNet was becoming. They saw how HealthNet’s customer base was growing, so United made a bid to buy the little insurance company.
The New York State Insurance Department in it’s infinite wisdom allowed the sale to go through. HealthNet was gobbled up by the giant and United HealthCare put a stop to their annoying little competitor.
So here comes EasyChoice, once known as Atlantis Health Plans. They filed for bankruptcy in 2010, but emerged a stronger, better positioned insurance company to take on the giants.
EasyChoice announced this week, that they are keeping their health plan pricing at 2012 levels and not raising their rates like the other companies who have announced 7%, 8%, and even 10% rate increases for this year.
Their rate for a single insured in the small group market is under $500 per month while the other companies are charging $550, $600 and more. Their family rate hovers around $1000 per month when the average rate from the “other guys” is $1600 or more.
EasyChoice has a hard road ahead of them. They are a New York City based insurance company so their network of doctors and hospitals suffers outside of the city and the boroughs. HealthNet faced this problem 5 years ago too, but as HealthNet’s membership grew, so did their network and they became accepted all throughout the Tri-State area.
Can EasyChoice pull this off? Can they become the premier insurance company in New York? Only time will tell, but it’s refreshing to see an insurance company giving small business owners a break.
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