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NY bucks federal date for health exchange

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted a rally Monday, July 17, 2017, with Democratic leaders in Manhattan to vow a lawsuit if Congress goes ahead with a replacement for Obamacare.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau

ALBANY — Enrollment in New York’s health exchange that provides insurance to 3.6 million residents will start Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 31, 2018, the state Health Department said.

The ending date is longer than the federal government is allowing with its own health-care exchange, which will end enrollment on Dec. 15.

New York, which runs its own exchange called NY State of Health, said it has the right to keep the enrollment period open until the end of January — which has been the state’s practice since the exchange first started in 2014.

“Our goal is to ensure that consumers have adequate time to shop for and enroll in the health plan that is best for their family,” Donna Frescatore, executive director of the NY State of Health, said in a statement.

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The state’s exchange faces uncertainty amid a potential replacement to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Health-insurance rates for individuals in New York, including on the exchange, will increase next year on average by about 15 percent, the state announced last month. And New York’s largest hospital system is shutting down its heath-insurance program because of growing costs.

But state officials have stressed that the New York program is healthy, while warning of the impact of potentially billion of dollars in cuts from Washington.

In Washington, the federal Department of Health and Human Services said in April that a shorter time to apply for insurance under Obamcare would “improve the open markets stability and promote continuous coverage and increase options for patients.”

But New York disagreed, saying the longer enrollment period is a benefit for consumers. Most of the enrollees in New York are on Medicaid, the health-insurance program for the poor and disabled.

About 18 percent of New Yorkers get their health insurance through the state program, and consumers need to re-apply yearly to get insurance from one of the more than a dozen insurers who offer plans.

Individuals in the exchange will receive notices in October about how to renew their coverage for 2018, but enrollment in plans for some of the poorest New Yorkers, such as Medicaid, the Essential Plan and Child Health Plus, are open all year long.

“As we enter our fifth open enrollment period, New York is more committed than ever to ensuring that core protections of the Affordable Care Act remain intact,” Frescatore said.

For more information about NY State of Health, visit: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call Customer Service at 1-855-355-5777.

Article source: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2017/09/08/ny-bucks-federal-date-health-exchange/105395222/

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