Fight the Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The week of March 4th, New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage, a project of CIDNY, submitted comments to the US Department of Labor expressing strong concerns with a proposed rule expanding Association Health Plans.

We believe that the proposed changes would negatively impact access to quality, affordable care for consumers, disrupt the individual and small business marketplace, and further strain the limited resources of state regulators. The loosely affiliated small businesses joined together as AHPs would be exempt from many of the consumer protections created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These include insurance standards such as Essential Health Benefits, premium rating rules, and risk pooling. As was seen in the past with AHPs, fraud, abuse, and plan solvency present potential concerns, especially as oversight and regulatory authority remains in question.

We are particularly concerned that Association Health Plans will use various practices to discriminate on the basis of health status. This will segment the market, making the ACA-compliant market, that the people we serve now enjoy, into a high-risk pool that will become unaffordable to them.

Learn more about the impact of Association Health Plans here.

It’s Almost Time for Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is coming for the NY State of Health, the Marketplace where you can sign up for health insurance offered through the Affordable Care Act or ACA (also known as Obamacare).

Open enrollment starts November 1, 2017 for new enrollments and November 16, 2017 for renewals. Open enrollment runs through January 31, 2018.

You may have read news about a much shorter open enrollment period this year and other actions that the Trump administration has taken that are expected to destabilize insurance markets. New Yorkers should know that New York State has decided to keep this extended enrollment period the same as in the past and that New York is spending the same amount on advertising as in previous years. None of the changes will affect open enrollment for 2017. 

Obamacare protects people with disabilities by requiring that insurance plans cover the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, and people with complex medical needs. Association health plans and short-term plans don’t have the same comprehensive benefits and consumer protections. These plans would appeal to healthy, less costly individuals. This will destabilize insurance markets for the rest of us by creating higher premiums and fewer choices. CIDNY will continue to advocate at the state level for protections for all New Yorkers.

During open enrollment, you can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan, which will have a premium and deductibles/copays. Most Marketplace consumers receive financial assistance to help them with premiums and some get help with co-pays. Costs have come down relative to last year, on average 5%.

Depending on your income, you may be eligible to enroll in Medicaid or Essential Plan, which have no or low out-of-pocket costs. Children under 19 can enroll in Child Health Plus. You can enroll in these programs at any time of the year.

You may receive confusing mail or online notices during open enrollment. CIDNY has navigators who can help you understand notices and enroll or renew coverage in the NY State of Health. Call the receptionist in Manhattan at 212/674-2300 or in Queens at 646/442-1520 and ask to speak with a navigator for more information. We’re here to help.