HCFANY Annual Spring Meeting 2018 Recap
The NY State of Health (NYSOH) is New York’s Marketplace, an online portal created to help peopel shop for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. New York has worked hard to make NYSOH easy to use. While there have been hiccups here and there, the Department of Health announced today that a record breaking 4.9 million people used NYSOH to enroll in health coverage during this year’s open enrollment! That’s more than 25 percent of New Yorkers, and it includes 150,000 people who used NYSOH for the first time.
New Yorkers can use NYSOH to enroll in the following programs:
- Medicaid – This is New York’s public insurance program for low-income people. Enrollment into Medicaid can happen year round. This year 3.4 million New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid using NYSOH.
- Essential Plan – This is another public plan for people who earn a bit too much for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private insurance. Almost 800,000 New Yorkers enrolled this year.
- Child Health Plus – This covers children up to age 19 whose families make too much for public programs but who cannot easily afford full coverage. About 450,000 kids enrolled in CHP this year!
- Qualified Health Plans – These are private plans that follow the ACA’s rules (such as accepting people with pre-existing conditions and covering the ten essential benefits). About 273,000 New Yorkers purchased a QHP this year. Many (58 percent) did so with help from federal subsidies they qualify for based on income. But a large number (114,000) still found plans they liked without help – a good sign that New York’s individual market is becoming more and more stable over time.
The new 2018 census data numbers are out this this morning.
The bad news is that uninsurance numbers increased across the country by 1.9 million in 2018, despite the positive economy. This was the first increase in uninsured since the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented in 2014. Here’s a New York Times article with more details.
BUT, there’s great news in New York, which was one of just three states in the country to have a decline in our uninsurance numbers, from 1,113,000 in 2017 to 1,041,000 in 2018 (our uninsurance rate declined from 5.7% to 5.4%).
New York’s continued decline in uninsured residents is inextricably linked to its adoption of the high quality, affordable, Essential Plan, which saw an increase in enrollment from 665,000 in 2017 to 739,000 in 2018. Other important factors include:
- One-stop shopping: you can apply for the full spectrum of coverage, including Medicaid, Emergency Medicaid, Child Health Plus, the Essential Plan, Qualified Health Plans and tax credits, all through the same NY State of Health application
- Robust Navigator funding of $27 million a year
Congratulations New Yorkers! And let’s keep up the good work!
In a recent blog post, we explained how New Yorkers can comment on the rates their insurers have requested for 2019. You can read that blog post here. The deadline for submitting comments is Sunday, July 1 so there isn’t very much time left.
Comments can be submitted electronically here. And you can find our letters for each individual carrier below. HCFANY submits very detailed comments – yours do not have to include the technical analysis you see in our letters. It’s important for consumers to speak frankly about how premium increases affect their households. Maybe you have to decide between health insurance and other necessities. Maybe you are considering not buying insurance. Maybe your insurer keeps giving you fewer choices of doctors even as you keep paying more. All of these issues need to be discussed publicly in New York.
This year HCFANY asked the Department of Financial Services (DFS), which is responsible for regulating insurance and reviewing the rate applications, to help convene a workgroup to talk about strategies the state can use to control premiums. The rate review process allows DFS to reduce premium requests every year, but more needs to be done.
Comments on all 12 of the carriers who applied for the individual market are below:
On Friday, June 22, more than 70 HCFANY members from across the state gathered in Albany for our annual spring to learn about the Coalition’s ongoing and upcoming work to strengthen and expand health coverage all for New Yorkers and promote health equity. As you all know, it has been a very challenging year for health care, and we are very grateful to all who attended and engaged with us!
The agenda included an Advocates’ Panel during which we heard updates on HCFANY work on New York’s indigent care pool and safety net hospitals and the Coverage 4 All Campaign for immigrant coverage. We also discussed strategies for improving market stabilization and affordability in the individual market. Slides from the presentation are available here.
We were also honored to present our annual “Consumer Health Champion” Award to the grassroots groups, the “New York Grassroots Defenders of Health Care” who have been so instrumental in the fight to defend the ACA and Medicaid here in New York. Awardees included: ACR Health, “Faso Friday,” Long Island Save Our Health Care Alliance, NY-11 for Health Care, Rochester ADAPT, and Saratoga Progressive Action.
The meeting concluded with discussion and planning groups on federal advocacy, protecting New York State’s individual market, and preserving and expanding immigrant coverage.