Last month, we told you about the rate review process, which happens every year when health insurance companies submit requests for rate increase or decreases to the state Department of Financial Services (DFS). New York’s carriers were asking for some pretty big increases this year – about 18 percent on average across the individual and small group market. But as we explained, those are just requests. DFS has final say, and will release its decisions in the next few weeks.
The rate review process requires a tricky balancing act. Sometimes a rate increase is needed to make sure that the insurance company can stay in business. But consumers have to be able to afford coverage. In New York, consumers contribute to this process by telling DFS how premium costs affect their lives (you can look at all the comments people sent in on the DFS website).
HCFANY participates each year by reviewing all the applications and drafting formal comments. We will post the results as soon as they are released by DFS. But in the meantime, you can look through our letters, all of which are below.
- NorthShore LIJ CareConnect
The health insurance enrollment process can be overwhelming. Take a look at these entertaining videos on health insurance literacy for navigators, assistors, and consumers brought to you by Cover Missouri, a project of the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). They touch upon major issues and questions that you may encounter during the application process such as what questions to ask when you are on the phone with your carrier, common misconceptions of the Affordable Care Act, and how to find a primary care provider.
Check them out on YouTube:
The time to enroll or renew your coverage on the NY State of Health (NYSOH) Marketplace is just a few days away! Nearly 2.6 million people have enrolled in the Marketplace since its launch in 2013. We can continue to make progress by making sure more New Yorkers get enrolled and those who are covered maintain their coverage.
How it works and what you can do:
- Visit the Marketplace and look at available options – even if you are satisfied with your current coverage. The Marketplace continues to change, and this year you may find a plan that better suits your needs.
- See if you qualify for the new Essential plan for low- and moderate- income New Yorkers. You could get comprehensive coverage for yourself and your family for $0 or $20 per person per month!
- There are options to make the process of enrollment or renewal easier. You may go online and search through the Marketplace, call the Community Health Advocates helpline at 1-888-614-5400, or visit an in-person assistor in your community.
A few important dates for new enrollees:
- The Third Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2015, and continues through January 31, 2016.
- To get coverage that begins January 1, 2015 you must enroll by December 15, 2015.
- For coverage starting February 1, 2016 you must enroll between December 16, 2015 and January 15, 2016.
- For coverage starting March 1, 2016 you must enroll between January 16, 2016 and January 31, 2016.
For returning consumers, the re-certification period begins on November 15, 2015:
- To make sure you do not have a gap in coverage, you must renew your coverage between November 15, 2015 and December 15, 2015 for coverage that begins on January 1, 2016.
If you miss the re-certification deadline, your coverage stop after December 31, 2015 and you will not be insured for a certain time period:
- For coverage that begins on February 1, 2016 you must renew your coverage between December 16, 2015 and January 15, 2015 (coverage gap is 1 month).
- If you renew your coverage between January 15, 2016 and January 31, 2016, your coverage will begin on March 1, 2016 (coverage gap is 2 months).
Make sure to get coverage to stay healthy and avoid the increasing tax penalty. Remember, the penalty for not being covered is rising to the greater of $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18) or 2.5% of your family yearly taxable income in 2016!
Building on two successful years of enrollment summits, this year’s 8 regional summits will continue to bring together stakeholders and community leaders to develop coordinated plans for outreach and open enrollment in 2015.
Navigators, health advocacy groups, health insurance plans, community groups, healthcare facilities, Certified Application Counselors, unions and small business representatives will come together to examine best practices, and share strategies, resources and partnerships to maximize enrollment in New York State of Health, the state’s insurance marketplace, taking into account the introduction of the Essential Plan in 2016. Participants will be able to volunteer for a number of enrollment and outreach tasks, and get their organizations involved.
Over 2.1 million New Yorkers enrolled in a health plan through Feb 28, 2015. This surpassed the New York State of Health goal to enroll 1.1 million New Yorkers in the first three years, and we’re continuing to work towards coverage for all New Yorkers!
Below is a list of all 8 summits. Local groups should come to the summit that covers their region. Statewide groups are urged to send their local affiliates. Contact local coordinators listed below with questions and to RSVP.
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 • 9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Ramada Inn Conference Center, 542 Route 9, Fishkill (exit 13 off I-84), NY 12524
To register: Visit http://hudsonvalleysummit.eventbrite.com.
Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 • 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm
1199SEIU Auditorium, 310 W. 43rd St., NY, NY 10036
To register: Visit http://bronxmanhattansummit.eventbrite.com.
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 • 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
1199SEIU, 100 Duffy Avenue, Suite 300W, Hicksville, NY 11801
To register: Email Luis Valenzuela at Luis.Valenzuela@1199funds.org.
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 • 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Southern Tier Independence Center, 135 E. Frederick St, Binghamton, NY 13904
To register: Contact Mary Clark at 607-723-0110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 • 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Staten Island Mental Health Society, Safir Auditorium, 669 Castleton Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301
To register: Email Nicole O’Loughlin at Nicole.O’Loughlin@1199funds.org or call (917)543-3200.
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 • 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm
SEIU Albany, 155 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12210
To register: Visit http://citizenactionny.org/capitalregionsummit2015 or email Sara Couch at email@example.com or call 518-222-1711.
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 • 9:00 am – 12 noon
1199SEIU Conference Room, 2421 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214
To register: Contact Bill Covington by phone at 716.995.3705 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 • 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11216
To register: Email Marcelle Dinnall at Marcelle.Dinnall@1199funds.org or Jennifer Clarke-Craig at Jennifer.Clarke-Craig@1199funds.org.
This event series is being held in cooperation with New York State of Health, www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov
Citizen Action of New York • Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS) • Community Service Society of New York • Healthcare Education Project (1199SEIU/GNYHA) • Health Care For All New York • Make the Road NY • Raising Women’s Voices-NY