If you build it – and build it right – they will come

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We already knew that nearly a million New Yorkers had enrolled through NY State of Health during the first open enrollment period from October 1 to March 31. But now we know more than ever about who they were, where they live, and how they enrolled. That’s thanks to the new enrollment report released yesterday by NY State of Health, the official health plan marketplace, which includes eagerly awaited demographics data such as age, race and ethnicity of enrollees.

HCFANY issued a press release, highlighting key findings from the data, such as the importance of in-person assistors in helping New Yorkers obtain health insurance. Nearly 50% of insurance applications were completed with help of in-person assistors, including Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, and brokers. In-person assistance was particularly critical for low-income New Yorkers: more than half (59%) of the Medicaid enrollees used in-person assistance to complete their application.

For the first time, the report offers a glimpse into the race and ethnicity, as well as preferred language, of New York enrollees. Though the data is incomplete – about one in four enrollees chose not to respond to the application on race – it nonetheless will help direct future outreach and enrollment efforts across the state. About 37% of enrollees who answered the question reported their race as Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, or “other” non-white race. About 20% of Medicaid enrollees chose a language other than English, but no enrollees reported their preferred language as Korean, Russian, or French Creole, pointing to potential gaps in these communities. As useful as this data is, it only provides a statewide picture – there is still a need for race, ethnicity and preferred language by county in order to target outreach to the communities that need it most.

Financial assistance was key to the high enrollment numbers in Qualified Health Plans (private health insurance). Nearly 3/4 of enrollees got private health plans with financial assistance in the form of Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) or a combination of both APTC and cost-sharing reductions. An average New Yorker who was eligible for financial assistance saved $215 per month in premium.

And, while some enrollees (about 13%) clearly benefited from the Medicaid expansion that made them newly eligible for public insurance, a whopping 93% of Medicaid enrollees were newly insured overall. That means many of those who enrolled in Medicaid were previously eligible but, for whatever reason, had been unable to enroll. New York clearly did something right in building it’s health insurance marketplace – the single, streamlined web application our State officials built is working. And, boy, did New Yorkers come.

 

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From left to right, Elisabeth Benjamin, CSSNY; Judy Arnold, NYSDOH; Kate Breslin, SCAA; Lorraine Gonzalez-Camastra, CDF-NY
 

HCFANY’s Children, Youth & Families Task Force presented the first Children’s Health Champion to Judy Arnold, Director of the Division of Eligibility and Marketplace Integration at the NYS Department of Health.  The award is well deserved. Under Ms. Arnold’s leadership, New York increased the number of children with health coverage; initiated the facilitated enrollment program, the predecessor to NY’s navigator program; and has worked to remove barriers to coverage and streamline enrollment. Congratulations to Judy!

The award presentation happened as a part of the spring meeting of HCFANY’s Children, Youth & Families Task Force on Wednesday, May 28. Advocates gathered in Albany to share important policy updates and to plan the next steps to secure universal health coverage for all children in New York.

The day also included a panel discussion moderated by Kate Breslin from the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. Two important health care funders, The Atlantic Philanthropies and New York State Health Foundation, were present to share their perspectives, panel-style, on upcoming priorities for the health of NY’s children and families. Jim Knickman, President and CEO New York State Health Foundation, identified oral health, asthma, behavioral health, and obesity as top priorities for children’s health in New York. Kimberley Chin, Programme Executive at Atlantic Philanthropies, reflected upon the impact of the foundation’s work as it enters its final phase of grant making, and invests in projects that will provide sustainable solutions.

Additionally, attendees celebrated recent HCFANY budget wins and a stellar open enrollment period (over 960,000 New Yorkers enrolled)! They also heard updates from HCFANY’s Public Programs Group, which monitors Exchange implementation and challenges related to Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and other public insurance programs.

Much important work is on the horizon for this task force, including coverage for undocumented immigrants and adolescents, behavioral and oral health coverage, monitoring New York’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP), and other key priorities. On a national level, members will keep an eye on federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides comprehensive and affordable coverage to more the 8 million children across America. Funding expires as of September 30, 2015, unless congress takes action.

 

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It’s that time of year again – time for statewide advocates for the health of children, youth and families to gather in Albany for HCFANY’s Children, Youth & Families Task Force Spring Meeting.

There is a full day planned to hear important policy updates and the health care implications of New York’s 2014-2015 budget, share resources, and chart a course for universal coverage for all children in New York. Several funders will be present to share their perspectives, panel-style, on upcoming priorities for the health of children and families. And, advocates will present the first CYF Task Force Children’s Health Champion Award.

When: May 28, 2014; 10:30am – 2:30pm
Where: Albany, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 85 Chestnut Street Register for our meeting here.

It’s an opportune time for advocates to come together. The first open enrollment period ended in the middle of April, and while the numbers are still coming in, an estimated 100,000 children are newly covered in Medicaid and Child Health Plus. Enrollment in Medicaid and CHP will continue throughout the year, with more opportunities to enroll every last New York child in health care. And, the recently enacted 2014-2015 NYS Budget offers new opportunities to improve the health of children and their families.

Join us!

 

 

Final Numbers for first open enrollment period

Yesterday, HHS announced that over eight million Americans enrolled in health insurance between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. That’s over a million more than the original goal for that period (seven million) and over two million more than the revised goal. As recently as the middle of March, some media outlets predicted that enrollments would fall short of this goal. But, enrollments surged during the last month of open enrollment, with the administration reporting that nearly 3.8 million people selected a Marketplace plan in the final month.

Note, too, that both the federal government and New York’s own Marketplace, NY State of Health, issued a 15-day extension period for those who ran into barriers completing their applications during this time. So, the final count of “open enrollment” sign-ups will be even higher. In New York alone, nearly 100,000 people enrolled between April 1 and April 15.

We’re looking forward to the next report of detailed demographics data from NY State of Health, something like the December Enrollment Report they released in early January. In the meantime, the HHS report gives us a taste:

  • New York ranks 4th in the nation in terms of sheer number of Marketplace enrollments, with 370,451 enrollments in private Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). We’re behind only California, Florida, and Texas.
  • Just over half of enrollees were women.
  • About 1/3 of enrollees were young adults between 18 and 34.
  • Over half of enrollees selected a Silver-level plan and over 80% selected a Silver plan or above. 
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 enrollees received financial assistance (e.g. tax credits).
  • States also reported the difference between March 2014 enrollment and Pre-ACA Average Medicaid and CHIP (children’s health insurance) enrollment (July-September 2013). In New York, about 343,835 additional New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid or our Child Health Plus program during the first open enrollment period.

The federal report also includes enrollment by race/ethnicity for the federal marketplace. We don’t have this data for New York…yet. Hopefully, the next NY State of Health enrollment report will include it.