Affordable Health Care

Issues: Health Care

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The Affordable Care Act is changing for the better the way New Yorkers shop for and buy health insurance. Beginning on November 15, 2014, millions of New Yorkers who do not already have access to coverage through their employer or a family member will be able to purchase health insurance for 2015 through a new statewide marketplace. With this marketplace, those who are uninsured - including small-business employees and unemployed or self-employed workers - or those who have trouble paying for insurance will now have options to choose affordable, quality insurance. Consumers can compare brand-name insurance plans and choose the one that works best for them and their family, and many will also be eligible for financial help in order to pay the premiums for these policies.

I have created this page to connect you to information for you, your family and/or your business, answers to common questions and the tools needed to see if you qualify for help with paying your premiums or other out-of-pocket costs. You will also find links to New York's marketplace and information about how to enroll.

As always, I encourage you to contact my office if you have any further questions or need assistance. You can reach my staff at 718.779.1400.

- Joe

What will the Affordable Care Act do for you?

The Affordable Care Act provides access to newly affordable, quality health insurance for millions of New Yorkers. Additionally, the law has already implemented changes to private health insurance plans in order to protect consumers from the worst insurance company abuses.

If you're on Medicare, you won't need to do anything new - you will continue to enroll in Medicare during the regular open enrollment period. But the new law has made improvements to Medicare that you will still benefit from. Click here to find out more about how the Affordable Care Act is making your coverage better.

How do I get health insurance in New York?

New York State's insurance marketplace is called "New York State of Health" and can be accessed here. At this site, you will be able to shop for and compare plans, find information about whether you may be eligible for help to pay your premiums and enroll in the plan of your choice. The marketplace begins enrollment for 2015 on November 15, 2014 and continues through February 15, 2015. While enrollment continues into February, in order to have coverage that starts on January 1, 2015, you will need to enroll by December 15, 2014 to allow time for the enrollment to be processed.

The official New York State of Health marketplace is a secure site for enrollment, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others from fraud and scams that may be circulating.

If you need help enrolling in a plan, organizations in your community may be able to help. The Community Service Society of New York and its partners, including Health Care for All New York, have been designated by the State of New York to provide insurance assistance. You can visit their website to find out about the services they offer and see how they will be working with people who need help participating in New York's health insurance marketplace.

What if I signed up for health coverage last year through the New York State of Health?

If you enrolled in coverage last year through the New York State of Health, you should receive information on your renewal options by mail or email. I encourage you to still visit the website during this year's open enrollment season to review your health insurance options, as plan premiums and coverage details may have changed and you may find a better plan by shopping around. Your family situation and other factors may also have changed the programs you are eligible for. However, if you have no changes in eligibility and do not anticipate any changes in the near future, and your health insurer continues to offer your plan, you can let yourself be auto-renewed. The Kaiser Family Foundation has developed an infographic that suggests questions to consider when renewing or re-purchasing health coverage.

The New York State of Health marketplace has also released a video describing the process of renewing last year's coverage.

How can I get help paying for my health insurance?

The Affordable Care Act includes programs to help individuals, families and small businesses pay for health insurance. These programs range from tax credits that lower the cost of premiums to subsidy payments covering out-of-pocket costs like co-payments for medical procedures. When you enroll through New York State of Health, you will be notified during the application process about what programs you may be eligible for. In the meantime, a number of resources are available to help you estimate what help you may receive.

  • The Kaiser Family Foundation's website has a helpful subsidy calculator for individuals and families to see how much assistance they may be eligible for.
  • Small Business Majority has set up a tax credit calculator to help businessowners estimate how much help they can receive for providing health insurance to their employees.

More information about the Affordable Care Act: has extensive information about the Affordable Care Act, with links to other websites for more specific, local information.