Open enrollment for health plans in the health plan marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will begin October 1, 2013 and run through March 31, 2014. Coverage could begin as soon as January 1, 2014 and all new policies are required to provide a specific, minimum set of benefits. People without health insurance after March 31, 2014 face the possibility of a fine.
The State of New York has established its own official health plan marketplace, found at: http://www.newyorkstateofhealth.ny.gov. The website is updated regularly as new information becomes available. Beginning October 1, New Yorkers will be able to view the health care plans available in their respective counties, and compare options offered in "tiers," or coverage and premium levels. People who already have health insurance may compare their existing plans against those offered in the New York State Health Plan Marketplace. There is no obligation to change plans. Information will be available for individuals, including those interested in applying for Medicaid or Medicare, as well as for small businesses, which may be eligible for tax credits.
Agencies and organizations statewide are being trained to serve as health plan marketplace "navigators." Navigators will assist residents in exploring their options (including opportunities for financial assistance to pay for coverage) and in enrolling, if desired. Details and contact information on these "navigator" agencies is forthcoming from the State.
Those interested in researching health plan coverage options for relatives and friends who live outside of New York State should begin by exploring the Federal health insurance marketplace.
The Library will offer an information workshop on the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, October 9 from 5:30pm- 7:45pm in the Community Room. Please register here, and encourage friends and family to attend.