Patchogue (WALK) - While some lawmakers in Washington D.C. try to derail health care reform by shutting down the federal government, enrollment in New York's new insurance exchange began on schedule today.
New York State of Health offers health coverage for the state's 2.7 million uninsured citizens under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." The marketplace lists plans with premiums as low as $134 for the most limited coverage in some areas of the state. After that, plans range from bronze to silver, gold and platinum, projected to cover 60, 70, 80 or 90 percent of medical costs.
All of the plans, which are offered by both nonprofit and commercial insurers, must cover essential benefits and cannot refuse customers based on pre-existing medical conditions. Premiums rise at each level, but government subsidies can be applied to reduce the cost.
Kevin Dahill is the President and CEO of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, one of three lead "navigator agencies" appointed by the New York State Department of Health to provide individuals and businesses on Long Island with enrollment assistance in the new marketplace.
"Our enrollment staff is ready and well-trained to assist individuals and businesses in comparing insurance options and plans and to help them select a plan that best meets their health needs and budget, says Dahill, in a statement. "Because of the marketplace, Long Island's nearly 400,000 uninsured will have the chance to purchase affordable health insurance for the very first time."
New insurance exchanges, similar to the one in New York, are open for business in states across the nation today, despite the federal government shutdown. Republicans that control the House of Representatives refuse to pass a spending bill that doesn't also defund the Affordable Care Act, while Democrats that control the Senate refuse to take up any spending measure that pulls the plug on funding for health care reform.
Photo: NY Health Exchange