New York: REMINDER: 43 counties offering $0 PREMIUM policies to those earning <$25K!

Nothing new or noteworthy here, but I've posted the "last call" press releases for California and DC, so I figured with just 8 hours left to go I should do so for New York as well:

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 24, 2018) – NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace today announced that New Yorkers who have not yet signed up for coverage in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) should enroll now so they are covered for 2018. Open Enrollment ends January 31st. Consumers across the state have a choice of multiple health plan options and for many, coverage is more affordable than last year.

Enrollment through NY State of Health continues to climb to record levels with more than 4.2 million enrolled across all programs. As of January 16, 2018, 243,600 consumers have enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) and 726,300 have signed up for the Essential Plan, exceeding numbers at the end of open enrollment in 2017.

“This year’s high level of interest in the Marketplace has been unprecedented, and sustained throughout the open enrollment period,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore. “We’re pleased to be able to offer New Yorkers health plans that are truly affordable and provide families the security and protection they need.”

Financial assistance is available to most individuals who buy coverage through NY State of Health. Many people who qualify for federal tax credits to purchase a QHP will find premiums for comparable coverage are lower in 2018. In addition, people making $25,000 a year or less can enroll in Bronze level coverage for free in 43 counties of the state. For eligible New Yorkers, Essential Plan coverage costs $20 or nothing.

New York has seen a significant drop in its uninsured rate. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in early November, New York’s uninsured rate has reached a new low of 4.7 percent compared to 10 percent in 2013 when NY State of Health opened –a decline of 900,000 people.

Consumers can enroll in a health plan online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, with the help of an in-person assistor or by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-855-355-5777.

NY State of Health Customer Service Center Hours:

  • Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Enrollment in a QHP continues through January 31, 2018. After that date, individuals can enroll in a QHP only if they have a life event such as loss of coverage, marriage or birth of a child that qualifies them for a Special Enrollment Period. Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan continues throughout the year.

UPDATE: Hmmmm...this is actually kind of strange, now that I think of it: As Andrew Sprung just pointed out, people earning less than 200% FPL are automatically kicked over to the Essential Plan for either $0 or $20/month depending on their income.

$25,000/year is 207% FPL (100% FPL is $12,060 for 2018)...so really, this "Free Bronze Plan!" only applies to those earning between 200 - 207% FPL: $24,120 - $25,000. That's...a pretty narrow band.

For those earning 150% - 200%, having to pay $20/month may sound worse than "free Bronze!", but it also includes zero deductible, so it's still a much better deal for the enrollee.

Anyway, I agree with Sprung that this is kind of an odd thing to be touting. I guess it's intended as more of an eye-catcher to draw people in than an actual market that they're pushing heavily on...after all, even over $25K the bronze plans should be dirt cheap.