Guest post by Andrew Leonard, Senior Health Policy Associate, Children’s Defense Fund of New York
Last week, a group of journalists covering Westchester County gathered at the Westchester Children’s Association in White Plains to get the facts on Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment in New York State. A key goal of the ACA is to reduce the number of uninsured, which in Westchester County alone includes over 100,000 individuals. Events like these, which raise awareness of the many routes to health insurance, help New York meet that goal. Presenters from local community based organizations, such as Make the Road New York, Raising Women’s Voices, and the Community Service Society, covered the basics of the New York State of Health Marketplace and discussed tips for enrolling hard to reach groups, such as immigrants, LGBT persons and small business employees.
It is more important than ever for people to receive accurate information from trusted, local sources. Mainstream media outlets seem to focus almost exclusively on the flaws of national health reform. The ever-present misinformation and misdirection can serve as a barrier to enrollment for people in need of care. Some reporters were surprised to hear that news coverage on the woes of the federal enrollment roll-out did not apply to New York, where over 100,000 people have already signed up for coverage through the state-run exchange, the New York State of Health Marketplace. While New York’s marketplace is not without its challenges, presenters demonstrated that for many New Yorkers it has succeeded in becoming a portal to affordable, accessible health insurance coverage. Already, reporters in attendance have started sharing accurate, helpful information on how to enroll in coverage. Take a look!