October 21, 2021

NY’s health plan market to open Sunday

Sunday begins the enrollment period for New York State of Health — the state’s official health plan marketplace, although a Cortland business leader said he hasn’t heard of Cortland businesses struggling to provide health insurance for its employees.

“As far as I’ve heard, all businesses that are able to are continuing to” provide health insurance, said Bob Haight, the president and CEO of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the enrollment period, which runs until Jan. 31.

“New York has done more than any state to expand access to healthcare and make high-quality insurance available to everyone,” Cuomo said in a news release. “And as we continue to fight COVID-19, making sure every New Yorker is insured and has access to quality healthcare has only become more critical.”

However, Haight said he has not learned or heard of any local businesses making concessions when it comes to employee health care during the pandemic.

More than 5.5 million people have acquired insurance coverage through the program, said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

State residents who are enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan through the state Department of Health can renew their coverage, Cuomo said. Anyone without health insurance can visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ to see what’s available.

Due to the pandemic, consumers already enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or the Essential Plan will have their coverage continued automatically and do not need to renew at this time.

New York codified protections from the Affordable Care Act into state law earlier this year, including a ban on excluding preexisting condition, a prohibition on annual and lifetime dollar limits, the guarantee of quality essential health benefits, and the ability to keep children on their parents’ plans through age 26.

New York State of Health expects to renew Qualified Health Plan coverage for nearly 200,000 households. Current enrollees, including those who enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan through a Special Enrollment Period, have already begun to receive their 2021 renewal notices.

Notices will include information about premiums, tax credits and how to select a plan, if applicable. Most consumers have a choice of at least four plans in their county.