Last week, Healthcare.gov relaunched its website with a new look and a new focus on providing information related to eligibility and enrollment in the new state health benefit exchanges (or “marketplaces”).
The site now allows you to put in basic information about yourself to find out what types of health insurance programs or savings you may be eligible for come this fall. There is even a live chat function to allow you to ask basic questions about how the Exchange will work and get them answered in real time.
The purpose for this face lift is to get information out to the masses to prepare them for the changes that are coming this fall, and the decisions they will need to make around health insurance starting October 1st.
You can check out the new site at the same URL: www.healthcare.gov (or in Spanish at www.cuidadodesalud.gov). To learn more about the changes made, click here to check out the press release issued by HHS.
HCFANY launched a new campaign today to provide outreach and education to uninsured LGBT New Yorkers around the new health options that will soon be available via the New York State Health Benefit Exchange. While health statistics on LGBT populations are not yet widely collected (something we are pushing to change) experts estimate that 1 in 4 LGBT people in the state are uninsured.
The outreach campaign will be headed up by HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force to help prepare people for the health insurance choices they may need to make once enrollment on the Exchange opens on October 1st.
The campaign was kicked off by a press briefing hosted by the New York State Health Foundation to bring attention to the unique needs of LGBT New Yorkers, illustrate how the Affordable Care Act is working to address them, and to lay out next steps.
- Kellan Baker, Director, LGBT State Exchanges Project, Center for American Progress
- Megan Fisk, Director of Family Services, LGBT Community Services Center of New York
- Mark Hannay, Director, Metro New York Health Care For All Campaign
- Jonathan Lang, Director of Governmental Projects and Community
Development, Empire State Pride Agenda
- Jay Laudato, Executive Director, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
- David Sandman, Senior Vice President, New York State Health Foundation
- Lois Uttley, Director, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need
The new coverage options afforded by the ACA will benefit LGBT communities by providing wider access to affordable health care, increased data collection (which will work to inform future policy decisions), and a new ban on discrimination based on HIV status and sex, including gender identity.
The LGBT Task Force has been working with state Exchange officials to make sure that same-sex couples have the same opportunities for affordable health coverage. This includes allowing couples to pool their premium subsidies together to purchase family health plans on the Exchange.
Outreach will start at the June 30 PrideFest in Manhattan, and continue through the summer and fall.
Thanks to everyone who came to last week’s HCFANY briefing in NYC – was a great success and we ended up with a turnout of over 130 people.
Many attendees have been asking for copies of the presentations and materials we had available at the meeting, so we are posting them up here for anyone who is interested. Here is a quick recap:
- Sara Rothstein, Assistant Director for Policy and Planning for the New York Health Benefit Exchange presented an update on implementation of the NYS Health Benefit Exchange including a very broad overview of the State’s outreach and marketing plan, information on the Navigator RFA. You can view Sara’s presentation by clicking here.
Martine Apodaca, Director of the Public Education Campaign for Enroll America presented a profile of the uninsured in New York and their findings on messaging around the new health insurance options based on a national survey. You can view Martine’s presentation by clicking here.
Joanne Bailey, Director of Policy and Research at the New York City Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access (OCHIA) presented on the timeline for health reform implementation in the New York, including a profile of the uninsured in New York City, and the potential challenges and opportunities brought by the ACA. You can view Joanne’s presentation by clicking here.
In addition, we had several publications and handouts available:
- HCFANY’s 2013 ACA Advocacy Agenda
- Reaching One Million More New Yorkers: A Successful Enrollment Campaign for the Exchange
- HCFANY’s Agenda to Address Health Disparities
- New Coverage Options Coming Soon
- Profile of The Uninsured in NYC
- Small Employers and the Health Care Law
- Profile of the Uninsured: People With Disabilities in NYC
While we haven’t seen all the fine print, HCFANY is delighted to report that this year’s budget deal includes important protections for New York’s health insurance consumers. The new budget deal includes:
- Co-premium assistance for people between 138-150% of poverty (people with children that are currently eligible for Family Health Plus ). Those who enroll in the Exchange with Silver-level plans will pay no premiums. This measure is NOT conditional on federal financial participation.
- Protection for people who currently have out-of-network coverage in the individual market. These consumers will have the option to pay for a Platinum-level plan on the Exchange with an out-of-network rider and be “risk pooled” with the rest of the State’s individual market.
- A requirement for SDOH to create a workgroup to study whether New York should adopt a Basic Health Plan
- Fair consumer protections on the State’s new Navigator program
- Funding for consumer assistance for New York’s health insurance consumers through Community Health Advocates
- Still waiting details on Medicaid budget, but it looks like most optional benefits have been saved….
A special thanks to everyone who added their names to our sign-on letter, called the Governor’s office, and worked hard to get these important consumer protections. These budget victories would not be possible without you!!!
Stay tuned for more on the budget!