What Does the ACA Mean to You?

microphone_in_fist-2400pxWhile Congress was debating and drafting the ACA, HCFANY gathered stories about the hardships experienced by New Yorkers with no coverage at all or coverage that failed when it was most needed. Advocates in other states did the same, and those stories helped educate decision-makers about the need for health care reform.

We need to hear those stories again. HCFANY created a story form to help you tell yours. If you are unsure how the law has affected you, the story form lists some examples. One of the examples is having health insurance, which we know happened for millions of New Yorkers because of the ACA. Maybe you are a childless adult who became eligible for Medicaid for the first time. Maybe you could afford insurance again because you got a tax credit, or you were able to stay on your parents’ insurance for longer.

It is also likely that you have better insurance today than was commonly available before the ACA. Insurance companies are no longer allowed to charge you for check-ups or screenings that help people catch problems early on. They aren’t allowed to exclude pre-natal care or prescriptions, as they commonly did before the ACA. Insurance companies here in New York weren’t allowed to exclude you from purchasing a plan because of pre-existing conditions. But they were allowed to enforce waiting periods where you paid a premium but could not receive needed care for your pre-existing condition.

Tell us what this law has meant to you and your family. Going backwards to the days before the ACA should not be on the table – but it is. The best thing we can do right now is share our honest stories about why we passed the ACA in the first place.

Red AlertThe Urban Institute released a new report today, which examines the implications of a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a process known as budget reconciliation. According the report’s findings, more than 1.1 million New Yorkers would become uninsured by 2019 under a partial repeal of the ACA.

New York State also stands to lose substantial funding from the federal government:

  • The Urban Institute estimates that New York would lose more than $10 billion by 2028 in premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, which help make health insurance more affordable for individuals and families.
  • The Urban Institute also estimates that New York would lose approximately $47 billion by 2028 in funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • Although not included in the study, New York would also lose funding for its Basic Health Plan, branded the Essential Plan, which currently insures nearly 600,000 people.

Nationally, the number of uninsured is estimated to increase by 103 percent or 29.8 million people by 2019 under partial repeal. It is also estimated that there would be 12.9 million fewer people with Medicaid and CHIP coverage in 2019.

If you or someone you know would be affected by any of these issues, please share your story.

Affordable insurance? Sign me up!

Affordable insurance? Sign me up!

A lot of people are worried about their coverage options right now, but the first thing to know is that it is still Open Enrollment for the Marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. Anyone who is uninsured or needs to renew should go ahead and get coverage set up for 2017.

If you are re-enrolling or are signing up for the first time and need coverage that starts on January 1, the deadline is December 15. The last day of Open Enrollment is January 31.

Both signing up and re-enrolling can be done through the NY State of Health Marketplace. The New York State of Health also funds Navigators all over the state who can help you apply, whether you are shopping for a small business, for your family, or just for yourself. The Navigators receive special training and are certified by the state. They know the plans inside and out and will help you understand your options. You can even make appointments to get help in-person.

You can look for a Navigator near you using the directory available here. The Community Service Society is one of the Navigator agencies and provides a helpline at 888-614-5400. Don’t be shy about calling – there are a lot of choices and it can be a big decision.

HandsUnder the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 20 million Americans have enrolled in health insurance, and the uninsured rate has sunk to the lowest level on record. In New York, our ACA marketplace, the New York State of Health, has enrolled more than 2.8 million New Yorkers into high quality affordable coverage. New York’s uninsurance rate was cut in half between 2013 and 2015.

The ACA provides free coverage or subsidized coverage to the vast majority of New Yorkers obtaining coverage on the NY State of Health marketplace. The new Essential Plan provides free or low-cost coverage to almost 600,000 New Yorkers. The ACA also makes insurance work better for consumers. The extensive list of consumer protections it offers includes: preventive care with no cost-sharing; an end to lifetime and annual limits; a prohibition on discrimination in health care; and no more denials or delays of coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

HCFANY knows that many consumers woke up this morning worrying about whether they will lose the coverage they count on because of threats to repeal the ACA.

HCFANY calls on our elected leaders to assuage their fears and act as soon as practicable to maintain the advances in coverage that New Yorkers have received since the ACA was enacted. New York has always been a leader on health coverage issues. We look to the leadership of New York State to continue to find ways to provide quality, affordable coverage for all New Yorkers.

Open enrollment for 2017 coverage continues, and consumers should enroll or renew their coverage at the NY State of Health. Navigators are also available to help consumers review their options.