The Assembly got it right in their one house budget bill by including a “premium wrap” for those people eligible for Family Health Plus to make a seamless transition into the new Health Insurance Exchange. The Assembly is also “authorizing” the Basic Health Plan – but we hear the Governor’s office isn’t going for EITHER in final budget negotiations.
We all must make calls TODAY!
First, urge the Governor and Department of Health to accept the Assembly’s changes to the phase out of Family Health Plus and help all those eligible pay for premiums on the new health insurance exchange come 2014. The Governor’s Executive budget got us started by helping those currently enrolled in Family Health Plus be able to make a seamless transition to the Exchange in 2014 – but left out all those at the same income levels who aren’t currently enrolled. They’ll need to enroll come 2014 and they should get the same deal! The Assembly budget got it right.
Tell the Governor & The Department of Health: Provide a “premium wrap” for the entire Family Health Plus eligible popultion, not just those currently enrolled.
The Governor’s office also does not want to move forward to even authorize the state to look into implementing a Basic Heath Plan to receive additional federal funding to help provide quality, affordable coverage for families and individuals who make less than 200% of poverty a year (that’s around $22,000 a year for an individual and $47,000 for a family of four). Why would we wait to create a program the Affordable Care Act sets up as a great way to help those who need it most!?! There is NO reason to wait.
Tell the Governor & the Department of Health: Include authorization for the Basic Health Plan in the final budget negotiations so ALL low income New Yorkers will have access to affordable health coverage.
Final budget deals will be made this weekend. We need ALL groups making these calls and sending off emails and letters TODAY!!!
- Governor Cuomo: (518) 474-8390
- Director of Healthcare Redesign James Introne: (518) 408-2500
- NYS Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson: (518) 474-3018
- Commissioner of Department of Health Dr. Nirav Shah: (518) 474-2011
Thank you for your very important actions today.
Under the ACA, states are allowed the option of creating a Basic Health Plan (BHP) for low-income adults who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Ordinarily, if these folks don’t have employer-sponsored coverage then come 2014 they will be able to buy insurance through the Exchange with the help of federal tax credits. But, even with the tax credits this coverage may still be too expensive for them. The BHP then would act as a bridge between the free or low-cost Medicaid coverage and the higher priced options available on the Exchange.
Don’t be fooled by the name though – there is nothing “basic” about it. According to the ACA, BHP coverage must be as affordable and comprehensive as what these adults would have gotten on the Exchange. In New York, coverage would likely resemble that of the Family Health Plus program.
New York currently offers public coverage to low-income adults through its Family Health Plus program, the cost of which is split with the federal government. New York also pays for Medicaid coverage for low-income immigrants without help from the federal government. Through the BHP program, New York would be able to cover both of these groups and have the federal government pay for it all. This would save the state between $500 million and $1 billion per year.
Sounds great, right? Problem is, the federal government still hasn’t released guidance on this program, and isn’t planning on doing so anytime soon. Unfortunately, state policymakers won’t commit to the program until they are sure of all the details. So, until that happens, it is unlikely that New York will get any of the cost-savings and affordability protections that the BHP has to offer.
HCFANY has created a policy brief on this issue to explain it in detail, urge federal policymakers to release BHP guidance, and provide recommendations to state policymakers.
Click here to read HCFANY’s policy brief, titled “The Basic Health Program Option in the Affordable Care Act.”