Over 2.1 million New Yorkers have enrolled in quality coverage since the New York State of Health marketplace’s launch in 2013! Yesterday the New York State of Health released its report on the second open enrollment period, which ran November 15, 2014 through February 28, 2015. HCFANY is excited to dive into the numbers over the course of the coming weeks; we’ll share our analysis with you via this blog series, on twitter (@HCFANY), and Facebook.
The New York State of Health (NYSOH) goal was to enroll 1.1 million New Yorkers in health coverage in its first three years of operation. It’s an amazing accomplishment that almost double that number of people have been enrolled in only two years! On the individual market, enrollment has soared from less than 18,000 people before the marketplace opened (2012) to 450,000 in 2015.[i] And the marketplace continues to meet a critical need; over 89% of enrollees reported being uninsured when they applied.
The marketplace is also succeeding in making coverage more affordable. Nearly three quarters of enrollees (74%) in the commercial plans – called Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) – received premium subsidies, which help bring down premium costs for middle-income people.
Of the 2,143,413 New Yorkers who have used the marketplace, 73% enrolled in Medicaid, and 95% of those consumers were uninsured at the time of application. We’re already gearing up for the third open enrollment period, which begins November 1, 2015!
This is the first in a series of blog posts about the NYSOH 2015 Open Enrollment Report.
Already more than two million New Yorkers have gained affordable health coverage through the NY State of Health marketplace, but there are still some people (namely women!) who may find themselves left behind. First-in-the-nation legislation providing special insurance enrollment options for pregnant women passed both the State Assembly and State Senate a few weeks ago and awaits the Governor’s signature.
In the past, moderate- and higher-income uninsured women who become pregnant had to wait to enroll in private health insurance. Low-income women can enroll in Medicaid at any time, but their higher-income counterparts can be left without affordable prenatal and maternity care. Lack of coverage can lead poor health outcomes for mom and baby. Improved maternal and child health outcomes support the New York State Prevention Agenda, and it’s the right thing to do.
Senate Bill 5972/Assembly Bill 6780-B creates a special enrollment period (SEP) for uninsured women who become pregnant and seek coverage outside of the open enrollment period. HCFANY urges Governor Cuomo to sign it into law. You can send a message here or call 518-474-8390 to ask him to sign S.5972/A.6780-B today!
High rates of un-insurance among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have finally started to drop because of the affordable, nondiscriminatory health coverage options made possible by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The LGBT uninsured rate fell from 24.2 percent to under 18 percent in the first year of operation of ACA health marketplaces, according to national Gallup surveys. But that was still significantly higher than the 13.2 percent un-insurance rate for the U.S. population as a whole.
That’s why Health Care for All New York is reaching out to uninsured LGBT New Yorkers as they participate in Pride celebrations in June and July. Raising Women’s Voices-NY, a HCFANY Steering Committee member, will be at every Pride Month celebration in the New York City area, handing out LGBT-specific information, and collecting contact information for uninsured people and connecting them to navigators who specialize in working with LGBT consumers for enrollment assistance.
Big selling points this year are the recent New York State policy announcements requiring health insurers to cover all medically-necessary transgender care. HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force is delighted to see that the New York Department of Financial Services responded to our concerns by issuing a guidance letter covering private health plans. HCFANY is also educating LGBT New Yorkers about the March 2015 partial lifting of transgender exclusions in state Medicaid coverage.
We’re letting LGBT New Yorkers know that if they are getting married, having a baby or experiencing one of a list of “qualifying life events,” they are eligible for a special enrollment period to apply for coverage through the NY State of Health marketplace. Low-income LGBT people can apply for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for themselves and their families year-round. The third open enrollment period for ACA health coverage starts on November 15.
RWV-NY Community Organizer Liza Lederer and summer intern Christianna Silva were at the Brooklyn Pride festivities on June 13, handing out materials and talking with uninsured LGBT people about how to get covered. More than 10,000 people attended Brooklyn Pride, which occupied six blocks in Park Slope Community. Many of the vendors at the festival were self-employed people interested in getting health insurance for the first time, reported Lederer. The following day, June 14, RWV-NY participated in Rockland Pride, which was held in the village of Nyack, and was attended by more than 2,000 people from the Rockland LGBT community.
Coming up on Saturday, June 27, will be Harlem Pride, where RWV-NY staff will do outreach to uninsured LGBT people in the neighborhood. Then, on Sunday, June 28, is the big Pride Festival in Manhattan, which draws more than 200,000 people from around the country. RWV-NY staff and volunteers will be leafleting and collecting names of uninsured people along the parade route and in the exhibit and vendor area that stretches over five blocks in the West Village. Pride activities in the New York City area will conclude on July 17, when RWV-NY will have a table at Bronx Pride, which will be held from noon to 8 p.m. in Crotona Park.
Guest post: Elisabeth R. Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives, Community Service Society of New York
The eagerly awaited Cuomo Administration’s budget bill was posted late Wednesday afternoon, January 21, 2015. The health section is a mere 170 pages long, making it a tough winter evening read. HCFANY’s policy experts and allies will parse the details over the next week and post a detailed reaction…err, later. However, we have identified two bits of good news for New York’s health insurance consumers right away.
First, the Governor Cuomo proposed a broad-based insurance financing mechanism for the NY State of Health Marketplace. This is good news for individuals and small employers because it means that those folks who are insured through the Marketplace will not disproportionately shoulder the burden of guaranteeing affordable, quality health coverage for New Yorkers. The alternative of placing a financing fee on marketplace enrollees would have resulted in Marketplace enrollees paying higher insurance rates than individuals and groups covered by plans purchased outside of the Marketplace. The broad-based financing mechanism proposed by the Administration will ensure a level playing field for all New York’s health insurance consumers.
The second piece of great news is that the Cuomo Administration has proposed $2.5 million in state funding for the Community Health Advocates (CHA) program. CHA has offered information about how to enroll and use health insurance coverage and care to nearly 200,000 New Yorkers since its launch in late 2010. CHA’s network of 21 community based organizations, small business serving groups (like Chambers of Commerce), and specialists serve New Yorkers both in their local communities and through a live answer help-line. Together, CHA’s groups act as an “HR” department for New York’s health insurance consumers who need a little extra help accessing or understanding how to get care.
HCFANY lauds Governor Cuomo’s Administration on these proposals and looks forward to working with the Administration during this legislative season.