Your Guide to New York Health Insurance
Before we jump right into New York health insurance and everything you need to know, let’s start with a little background information. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a “Obamacare” or ACA) was passed with the goal of getting all Americans access to affordable health insurance. To meet this goal, one measure Obamacare took was to create the ACA health insurance marketplaces, or health exchanges: one-stop shops where Americans can choose from a range of standardized, government-regulated health care plans. Health exchanges are also where eligible people can get subsidies, which lower the cost of their health plans.
States were given the option to run their own local exchange, take part in a multi-state exchange, or use the federal exchange. States that run their own exchanges get to customize many elements, including the time frame during which their residents can sign up for a plan. Several states decided to operate their own state exchanges and continue to do so to this day. New York is one of those states.
New York’s Health Insurance Landscape: Then and Now
The New York health insurance exchange is called New York State of Health. Before the ACA, 16 percent of New Yorkers were uninsured. Since the introduction of New York State of Health, the percent of New Yorkers without health insurance has dropped to 5! 3.6 million people have enrolled for health insurance through New York State of Health.
The New York Health Insurance Exchange
New York State of Health is where eligible people throughout the state can find subsidized ACA plans. Open Enrollment for 2019 in New York begins November 1 and ends January 31. Lucky you – this sign up window is significantly longer than the window given on the federal exchange!
The New York State of Health is fairly unique exchange because it is one of only two states that has a Basic Health Program (BHP), known as the Essential Plan there. The BHP is designed specifically for people who have incomes that are just slightly above the upper limit for Medicaid eligibility. The BHP in New York has plans available from several carriers, and the most someone who qualifies for the BHP will pay in premiums is $20 per month.
Like all other state exchanges, each plan on New York State of Health covers 10 essential health benefits. These include things like prescription coverage, maternity and mental health care, and laboratory services.
Buying insurance with New York State of Health involves four steps:
1. Create an account on New York State of Health
2. Complete the online application form
3. Compare your options
4. Select your plan and enroll
In true health insurance fashion, each of these steps can be trickier than you expect. Many people need help navigating the website, estimating their income, figuring out if they are eligible for subsidies, and understanding what documents are needed for proof of income, citizenship, or identity. Working with Stride makes this process much faster and easier, while still allowing you to enroll through New York State of Health with the same plan at the same price.
New York State of Health’s Intricacies: What You Need to Know for 2019
All insurers that offered plans on New York State of Health for 2018 will continue to do so for 2019. This means all 12 carriers are returning to the exchange. These 12 carriers include:
Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
Empire Healthchoice Assurance
Excellus Health Plan
Fidelis Care New York
HealthNow New York
Independent Health Benefits Corporation
MetroPlus Health Plan
MVP Health Plan
UnitedHealthcare of New York
As of 2018, Fidelis Care New York, Healthfirst PHSP, Oscar, and Emblem Health made up the majority of the New York health insurance market. New Yorkers are lucky because New York State of Health has one of the most robust exchanges in the country. This means you have a pretty good selection when choosing a plan.
According to a recent New York State DFS press release, insurance plan prices are increasing. The amount by which it increases depends on where in New York you live. On average across the state, your monthly premium will increase by 8.6 percent if you choose to keep your current health plan. While this may seem scary, most health insurance shoppers can generally avoid rate increases entirely by switching to the cheapest plan within their metal tier. Not to mention, you will likely qualify for a health insurance subsidy, which can help make your plan more affordable; of the 3.6 million people enrolled through New York State of Health, 59 percent receive federal subsidies.
If you live in New York, the start of Open Enrollment (the time of year when you can enroll in a new health plan) is just around the corner. Start preparing now to find your most affordable plan, and you’ll be well on your way for smarter, better savings all year long. And don’t forget – if you need help finding a subsidy or picking a plan, our experts are here to help!