Guest post by Mark Hannay, Director, Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign. New York’s fifth open enrollment period began this past Wednesday, November 1. This is the period during which people can renew or sign up for private health insurance coverage through the Marketplace. Here in New York, the New York State of Health (NYSOH) marketplace will be open for business through January 31, 2018.
To help everyone get ready for open enrollment, members of HCFANY partnered again this year with the Healthcare Education Project to organize a series of ACA Outreach and Enrollment Summits across the State, which took place last month. These summits bring together enrollment assistors, health plan representatives, advocates, hospital outreach staff, community health centers, and non-profit community-based organizations. Summits were held in Buffalo, Albany, New York City, and Long Island.
Each of the summits began with a presentation from NYSOH, which discussed the gains New York has made so far under the ACA and their outreach and promotional plans for open enrollment. One of the key messages they stressed during their remarks was that, in spite of the federal debate over the future of the ACA, nothing has changed, the ACA remains the law of the land, and NYSOH will be open for business as usual.
NYSOH also emphasized that affordable coverage is available and that many New Yorkers may qualify for financial assistance. They identified geographic areas where the uninsured rate remains above the state average which will need special focus and described the online resources available for stakeholders to use in their own outreach and enrollment.
For the first time this year, the closing section of each summit focused on key policy issues and advocacy strategies concerning the “unfinished business” and looming threats to various national health care programs. These issues include potential drastic funding cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA, the need to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and federally-qualified community health centers, attacks on funding for family planning, and restoring needed funding to the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program that helps pay for care for the uninsured, particularly at public hospital systems across our State.
Many of you may have heard reports that the Trump Administration will be cutting federal funding for the Navigator program for the upcoming year. Navigators are individuals or organizations specially trained and certified to help consumers shop for and enroll in health insurance coverage through the Marketplace.
These cuts do not affect New York. New York State runs its own state-based Marketplace, the New York State of Health (NYSOH), and thanks to the continued support of the State government, New York also funds its own Navigator program and will not be affected by federal cuts.
Navigators and other in-person assistors are available to help consumers in every county in New York State. According to the 2017 NYSOH Open Enrollment Report, there were 526 Navigators and more than 5,000 Certified Application Counselors (CAC) and Facilitated Enrollers (FE) in New York as of January 31, 2017. Among consumers who enrolled in coverage through NYSOH, 72 percent did so with the help of a Navigator, CAC, or FE. An even greater proportion of consumers used in-person assistance when enrolling in public coverage through the Marketplace. Seventy-seven percent of consumers who enrolled in Medicaid, 74 percent of consumers who enrolled in Child Health Plus, and 83 percent of consumers who enrolled in the Essential Plan all used in-person assistance to choose the best plan for their needs.
Open Enrollment for the 2018 plan year begins on November 1, 2017. If you or someone you know needs help selecting and enrolling in a health insurance plan, please call (888) 614.5400 for in-person assistance in your area. Remember, consumers enrolling in Medicaid, the Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus can enroll year-round!
Last week, the NY State of Health (NYSOH), New York’s official health plan Marketplace, announced that more than 3.6 million New Yorkers have enrolled in health coverage through NYSOH. This represents an increase of 28 percent since January 2016. More than 45,000 New Yorkers enrolled in the final two days of the 2017 open enrollment period.
According to the press release, more than 242,000 people enrolled in Qualified Health Plans, and nearly 60 percent qualified for federal subsidies to make monthly premiums more affordable.
The release also highlights the major success of the Essential Plan, New York’s Basic Health Plan, which now has more than 665,000 New Yorkers enrolled – a 75 percent increase since last year.
There are also more than 2.4 million New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid through the Marketplace and nearly 300,000 enrolled in Child Health Plus.
Open enrollment has ended, but New Yorkers eligible for Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or Essential Plan coverage can enroll at any time through the NYSOH website. If you need help enrolling, Navigators are available to provide in-person assistance. Please visit https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/IPANavigatorSiteLocations or call (888) 614-5400 to find a Navigator in your area.
Follow up on blog posted December 30, 2016.
Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Senate Minority Leader, Charles E. Schumer (NY), and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (CA) have called for a national day of action titled, “Our First Stand: Save Health Care,” this Sunday, January 15 to oppose any cuts to health care, and particularly Medicare and Medicaid.
Events are taking place in the following locations in New York State:
- Manhattan (Upper West Side), 12:30 PM
- Manhattan (Washington Heights), 1:30 PM
- Manhattan (Financial District), 11:30 AM
- Bronx, 11:00 AM
- Westbury (Long Island) 12:30 PM
Please follow the links to register.