In accordance with President Obama’s Federal Health Care Reform initiatives, every state must set up a health benefit exchange, which is a transparent, centralized marketplace that provides access to more affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage options to individuals and small businesses.
New York officials are currently engaged in the process of establishing the exchange and hold stakeholder meetings on various aspects of the exchange.
Governor Cuomo included language that would create the exchange in his 2012-2013 budget. Since the legislature failed to form an agreement on the details of the exchange structure, Gov. Cuomo issued an Executive Order to establish the statewide health exchange on April 12, 2012.
The Executive Order allows for regional advisory committees consisting of consumer advocates, small business consumer representatives, health care providers, agents, brokers, insurers, labor organizations, and any other appropriate stakeholders to advise and make recommendations on the establishment and operation of the Exchange, including recommendations about relevant regional factors. The advisory committees will provide opportunities for public input.
Check back here frequently for updates on those meetings and general information on the health benefit exchange in New York.
Update, 8/20/13: The Department of Health unveiled a new website containing information on the New York Health Benefit Exchange. The Exchange has a branded name, ‘NY State of Health,’ logo and website.
The website contains information on the health and dental plans participating in the Exchange and a map showing which plans are available in which counties. A calculator is also available on the new site for individuals and families to estimate their eligibility for tax credits. The calculator also offers a mechanism to compare plans.
The open enrollment period for the exchange begins Oct. 1, 2013 with insurance coverage commencing Jan. 1, 2014.
Update, 7/17/13: Gov. Cuomo announced approval of health insurance exchange rates for 17 insurers seeking to offer coverage through New York’s Exchange. The new rates are 50 percent lower on average than the current direct-pay individual rates. Enrollment for the exchange begins on October 1, 2013 for coverage that will be effective January 1, 2014.
Go here to see the Governor’s press release and a list of the 17 health insurance companies.
Update, 12/14/12: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave New York approval to set up an online marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy health insurance. Enrollment begins on Oct. 1 for insurance starting January 2014.
In New York’s application, officials said they expect a million people to get insurance through the program. They also said premiums are expected to drop in small group and non-group markets, customers using the exchange will get $2.6 billion annually in federal tax credits and subsidies, and the state will save $2.3 billion each year in Medicaid spending.
Official Website of the New York Health Benefit Exchange
9/21/12 Health Benefit Exchange Advisory Committee Meetings Summary
2/16/12 Summary of Health Benefit Exchange Stakeholder Meeting
2/16/12 Health Benefit Exchange Stakeholder Meeting Materials
Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order Establishing Statewide Health Exchange