By Andrew Leonard, Sr. Policy Associate for Health, Housing and Income Security, Children’s Defense Fund – NY
The release of the 2015 New York State of Health (NYSOH) Open Enrollment Report confirms that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working for children and families across New York. As the State continues to move ahead with the implementation of the ACA, more and more children have access to care, many for the first time.
Since the NYSOH opened in October 2013, more than one quarter of all Marketplace consumers have been children under the age of 18. In total, well over half a million (564,263) New York children have enrolled in health insurance through the NYSOH: nearly 400,000 in Medicaid, about 160,000 in Child Health Plus, and over 12,000 in Qualified Health Plans (QHP).
One of the major signs of success is that nearly one third (30%) of QHP enrollees were ages 18 to 34. These are the consumers known as “Young Invincibles,” whom many believed would not enroll in health insurance because they perceive themselves as not needing health care services. Many people believe it is important to have a large number of Young Invincibles in the marketplace risk pool, because young people tend to be healthier, which helps keep premium costs down for everyone in the Marketplace.
New York has a strong history of working to provide all children with access to health insurance, regardless of income or immigration status. Prior to the implementation of major ACA reforms in 2014, New York had already extended health care coverage to 96% of children. With the dramatic increase in the number of children enrolled in the Marketplace, that number will be far closer to 100% when new figures are calculated.
We look forward to seeing how the availability of the Essential Plan in 2016 will benefit the parents of many children covered through the Marketplace. As we know, when parents are better connected to health insurance, children are more likely to receive the care they need.
We will continue to advance a consumer-friendly implementation of the ACA in New York so that, one day soon, all New York children will have access to high quality, comprehensive health care.
This is the third in a series of blog posts about the NYSOH 2015 Open Enrollment Report.