(Photo courtesy of Life Magazine)
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and New Yorkers have much to celebrate! For many, the law has already begun to lower health care costs and bring new benefits.
For example, health insurance plans are no longer allowed to place lifetime limits on health benefits. This means that people with cancer or other chronic diseases will no longer have to worry about accepting treatment because of their lifetime limits. The ACA also places new restrictions on the use of annual limits, and in 2014 will ban them entirely. Insurance plans are also no longer able to drop people from coverage unexpectedly due to mistakes made on an application.
To help people get the most out of their insurance plans, to provide assistance with insurance problems or disputes, and to give people information they can use, the federal government has given New York $1.76 million to support Community Health Advocates – a new statewide consumer assistance program that offers free services.
For people with pre-existing conditions who often had to wait a year for expensive coverage to treat their condition, the ACA has created a new Pre-Existing Insurance Plan. In New York, this plan is called the NY Bridge Plan. This plan offers comprehensive benefits at a fraction of what is otherwise available on the individual market, generally around $350 – $420, with a 6 month waiting period.
One New Yorker that HCFANY spoke with from Binghamton had this to say about it:
“I am 61 and my wife is 62 – both retired. I was paying for individual coverage for both of us until this year when my health insurance premiums went up 30% to over $1,600 am month for both us. This was unaffordable so I had to drop our coverage. Both my wife and I have pre-existing conditions, so I am looking forward to buying affordable coverage from the NY Bridge Program.”
Want to learn more about the NY Bridge Plan? Need help getting insurance? Having a problem with the insurance you have? Call Community Health Advocates (toll free) at:
or visit then online at: http://www.communityhealthadvocates.org/
- Click here for HCFANY’s FAQ’s on the NY Bridge Plan