Governor proposes offering low-cost 'basic health care plan"

Mar 10, 2014

People who are finding it difficult to pay for a health insurance policy offered through New York sate’s health care exchanges, may find a more affordable plan, if a proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget goes through.

The governor’s proposed spending plan would allow New York to offer what’s called a "basic health care plan," according to Mary Clark, regional director of Citizen Action League of New York.

“That would really opens the doors to provide coverage at extremely low cost to families at 200 percent of poverty,” she said.

Clark says this would help individuals whose income is just beyond the Medicaid eligibility.  And she finds those people can budget for the health insurance in the short term, but have problems when unexpected expenses put a strain on their budget.    

“People who would come in, they’d say, 'I could pay $56 a month or $110 a month,' and that would work for a while. But if you have a flat tire, you have something go wrong with your car all of a sudden, it’s like, 'all right I no longer have that money to pay out of my pocket, and I’m going to have to drop my health care coverage.'”

Clark says the basic health plan would cost $20 per month. Clark says ultimately, the federal government would pay for the plan, so it also will save money for New York state. This health plan would be offered through private insurers through the State of New York Health Care Exchanges.  

The Affordable Care Act allows for states to opt in to this kind of basic health plan, but so far only Minnesota has done it.