NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan marketplace, began its open enrollment on Nov. 1 for New Yorkers seeking quality, low-cost health insurance coverage in 2017.
Open enrollment for qualified health plans runs through Jan. 31. Consumers are encouraged to shop for the best value. Officials said the amount of tax credits changes each year, and many individuals will find that they are eligible for increased federal financial assistance to help make coverage more affordable.
“As we prepare to launch the fourth open enrollment period, our focus is helping the remainder of New York’s uninsured find low-cost health insurance coverage,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore. “Increased help paying for coverage and expanded health plan options in 2017 will help all consumers, both current and those new to the Marketplace, find the coverage and care they need.”
She said marketplace highlights for 2017 include:
• Increased financial assistance: Many consumers buying plans through the Marketplace will be eligible to receive a tax credit offsetting the increases in premiums, and for some individuals, the credit may result in lower actual premiums. Consumers are encouraged to shop the marketplace for the best value. NY State of Health’s website plan preview, or anonymous shopping tool, allows individuals to get an estimate of financial assistance and see health plan options without entering personal identifying information. The tool can be accessed at nystateofhealth.ny.gov/individual.
• Plan Options: All insurers that offered qualified health plans in 2016, will offer plans to consumers in 2017 with the exception of Wellcare, which impacts fewer than 1 percent of qualified health plan enrollees. Wellcare will continue to offer Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Essential Plan coverage through the Marketplace.
All Qualified Health Plans offer the 10 essential benefits, and some plans offer additional services such as adult dental and vision coverage. In 2017, certain insurers will offer options covering a specific number of sick-doctors’ visits with no deductible.
• Essential Plan: An additional health plan, HealthNow, is offering the Essential Plan to consumers in western New York in 2017 and four other health plans have expanded the number of counties they serve. The Essential Plan lowers premiums to $20 or less a month and provides comprehensive benefits with no annual deductibles, free preventive care, and low copayments.
• Consumer Materials in 27 languages: Key consumer materials are now translated into 27 languages. Languages added for this year are Albanian, Greek and Tagalog. Visit http://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/AdditionalLanguageMaterials to see all available materials.
New Yorkers eligible for the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus (CHP) or Medicaid can also enroll during the open enrollment period. To ensure coverage beginning Jan. 1, individuals should sign up by Dec. 15. The Small Business Marketplace for employers with 100 or fewer employees is open for enrollment year-round. For more information about NY State of Health visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov/.