new york health exchange

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New Yorkers who sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchanges for individuals will see their premiums rise by an average of 14 percent, now that the Cuomo administration has approved rate increases for insurers in the exchanges.

Part of the increase is due to worries and uncertainties over the future of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

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The Senate is moving ahead on the repeal and possibly the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and policy makers in New York are bracing for the worst.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor, painted a grim picture of the current state of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, saying it’s caused pain “for literally millions of families.”

“Premiums have skyrocketed,” McConnell said. “Insurance options have declined.”

He said in some states, there is only one carrier available — and in some cases, there are none.

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New York State is now accepting public comments on proposed health insurance rates. These are rates for plans sold on the state's exchange.

Although each person's specific rate depends on a lot of factors, New York insurers generally want to raise premiums on individuals and small groups. Companies are asking for permission to charge individual customers 16.6 percent more, on average. For small group customers, the request is a 11.5 percent increase.

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President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act — also known as Obamacare — and replace it with something else. While no one really knows what that means, one health care analyst with a prominent Albany think tank said New York could be billions of dollars in the hole as a result.

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In 2016, low-income New Yorkers will have a new option for health coverage on the state health insurance marketplace. 

State Health officials have announced the adoption of a Basic Health Plan that allows people who earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line to enroll in low-cost health coverage.

Premiums cost around $20 a month and there are no deductibles.

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Officials for the New York State Health Exchange say $27 million will go to help residents connect with insurance -- the same amount as last year. The state health department says it’s ready for the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, starting November 15.

National health care advocates worry that most states will be investing less on support staff to help sign people up for insurance, than was invested last year.

Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, health equity director at Families USA, says the second year of the ACA open enrollment will need resources.

Amid ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website, New York is one of a handful of states where residents can successfully enroll through the state's health insurance marketplace, according to state officials.

Elisabeth Benjamin, a New York state health navigator, said the site did have some glitches in the first two weeks, but said now she is thrilled with the exchange's success so far.