Your questions answered on Health Insurance signups
Our Monday evening call-in answered your questions about health insurance (and there were lots of them!) . Here's a summary of answers from our Health Navigators:
Open enrollment (to buy a new policy or change coverage) with the NY marketplace runs til January 31st, though if you want your policy in effect by January 1 you have to enroll by December 15. (December 15 is also the end of enrollment in the Federal health insurance under the Affordable Care Act). If you have a policy and just want to renew it, you can do it on the policy's coverage anniversary.
The NY State insurance marketplace offers several coverage options, according to ACR Health Navigator Steve Wood. People who meet eligibility requirements may even get free coverage, however there are also policies for high-income applicants.
Health Navigators got lots of questions during our call-in, from people who've lost their jobs, and therefore their company-sponsored health insurance. Wood says there are less expensive options than COBRA, which he calls 'outrageous in cost,' and worth a check (free) of what's available through the state marketplace.
Wood also advises potential insurance buyers to use a Health Navigator if trying to negotiate the state's health website: he says they can do the application quickly (10 minutes!) and know the financially advantageous buttons to push on the web application (example: if you say 'no' to 'do you want help with insurance, you may miss out on tax credit deductions and more)
ACR Health works under a NY State contract and does not charge for advisory services. It has offices and health navigators in several Central NY cities, and can be reached through www.ACRHealth.org