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Health insurance: Open enrollment period to end of 2021

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Wed, Mar 24th 2021 09:55 am

NY State of Health's implementation of American Rescue Plan will lower premiums for most consumers

Higher tax credits also available to current enrollees in early April, and to higher-income New Yorkers for first time starting in June

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced expanded tax credits available through NY State of Health, New York's health plan marketplace. The expansion will result in more New Yorkers being eligible for financial assistance and the further reduction in health insurance premiums in New York.

Through the American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden recently signed into law, increased tax credits are available to more than 150,000 consumers who are already enrolled in coverage, further lowering health care costs. In addition, in June, NY State of Health will, for the first time, expand tax credits to tens of thousands of additional New Yorkers with higher incomes who, before the American Rescue Plan, did not qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of premiums. 

Cuomo also announced the 2021 open enrollment period will be extended through the end of this year. The announcements come on the 11th anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.

"Access to high-quality, affordable health insurance is crucial at any time, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important to make sure New Yorkers are insured in case they face the virus or other health issues," Cuomo said. "With the availability of increased tax credits and the extended open enrollment period, health insurance premiums will be reduced for more New Yorkers than ever before. I encourage anyone who needs health insurance to sign up through NY State of Health."

Beginning in early April, enhanced federal tax credits will be available for low- and moderate-income consumers (income up to $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four) to lower the cost of qualified health plans. Individuals already enrolled through NY State of Health at these income levels will be notified to visit NY State of Health, call the NY State of Health customer service center, or contact a certified NY State of Health assistor to update their information. Consumers who complete their updated enrollment in April will receive a premium invoice from their health plan that reflects the lowered premium amount beginning in May.

NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore said, "As we continue to respond to a global pandemic that has impacted our lives for more than a year, the American Rescue Plan has provided some very good news for New Yorkers. We are working to make enhanced tax credits available to New Yorkers as quickly and as seamlessly as possible."

By June, NY State of Health will update its system to automatically apply the enhanced tax credits without the consumer needing to take any action to receive them. Also in June, NY State of Health will update its system so that higher-income consumers (income above $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four) can access the federal tax credits. Consumers at these income levels were not previously eligible for tax credits.

To allow as many consumers as possible to access these enhanced tax credits, and in light of the ongoing public health emergency, NY State of Health is also announcing an extension of the open enrollment period to Dec. 31.

On Feb. 17, Cuomo announced New York's health insurance open enrollment period was extended to May 15, aligning with states across the country. His team stated, “Ensuring access to affordable health coverage and care is more important than ever, so that individuals do not avoid seeking testing or medical care for fear of cost during the ongoing public health emergency. This deadline extension allows consumers additional time to enroll for 2021 coverage.

“Over the past 11 years, New York has led the nation in its implementation of the ACA and made more than $4.4 billion in federal tax credits available to New Yorkers to lower the cost of qualified health plans purchased through the NY State of Health Marketplace. More than 5.8 million people – nearly 1 in 3 New Yorkers – now access health coverage through NY State of Health, New York's official health plan marketplace. The state has seen an unprecedented reduction in uninsured – from 10% to 5% between 2013 and 2019.

“Now, with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, NY State of Health will build on these gains to further extend affordable coverage to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”

Depending on enrollment levels, New Yorkers could receive more than $700 million in additional tax credits in 2021 because of the American Rescue Plan.

Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs – Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus – can enroll year-round. As always, consumers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, or by connecting with a free enrollment assistor.

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