Now, more than ever, it’s important that everyone who can get insurance does so – that’s because the Affordable Care Act requires it. It requires uininsured individuals to have health insurance starting January 1, 2014, or pay a fee when you file your taxes – unless you can claim an exemption.
If you have health insurance through your job or a family member, then you don’t need to do anything.
But if you are uninsured, it’s important that you find out where you can get health insurance and understand your options. The NY State of Health, the Official Health Insurance Marketplace, is where most uninsured New Yorkers will go to get public and private health insurance coverage.
Public Health Insurance
New York State offers free and low-cost public health insurance programs for low-income New Yorkers. Individuals and families can qualify for public health insurance even if they have income, own a house, own a car, or have a bank account.
The way that you apply for public health insurance is changing. As of January 1, 2014, some NYC residents can continue to apply through the NYC Human Resources Administration’s (HRA’s) Medical Assistance Program. Other residents must apply for public health insurance coverage, Medicaid and Child Health Plus, through NY State of Health at any time during the year.
Who can apply for Medicaid through HRA?
Persons 65 years and older and people of any age who need Medicaid related to a disability or blindness can apply for public health insurance through HRA. Call the HRA Helpline at 1-888-692-6116 or visit a Medical Assistance Program Office.
Who can apply for public health insurance through NY State of Health?
Pregnant women, children, and non-elderly adults (under age 65) must apply for coverage through NY State of Health. It is operated by New York State and is the Official Health Plan Marketplace. Call NY State of Health at 1-855-355-5777 or go on-line and apply at: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/. You can also have someone help you apply in-person, just call NY State of Health to find a certified assistor, or search online.
How do I renew my Medicaid?
If you are already receiving Medicaid or Family Health Plus, you will continue to renew through HRA for the time being. Please follow these Medicaid Renewal Instructions (in PDF).
Private Health Insurance and Help Paying for Coverage
Individuals under 65 years old can purchase private health insurance through the NY State of Health. Eligible individuals can also get help paying for private health insurance through new tax credits to lower costs. This financial help is only available through the NY State of Health. Enrollment in private health insurance plans is limited to specified enrollment periods – called “open enrollment” periods. The first open enrollment runs from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Only people with qualifying events can buy private insurance outside of this time period.
If you qualify, you can get help paying for the cost of coverage, including financial assistance to help pay the cost of monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses including co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance. To learn more, click here.