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Hochul welcomes $750 million in federal funding to boost affordable health coverage


Thu, Nov 11th 2021 09:30 pm

Funding through American Rescue Plan will support the Essential Plan

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced the Biden-Harris administration's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be making $750 million in additional American Rescue Plan funding available for New York's Essential Plan.

"If we are going to put an end to this pandemic, we need to make sure all New Yorkers have access to affordable, reliable health care coverage," Hochul said. "I want to thank Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for this funding and our ongoing partnership. The additional $750 million in federal funding to support our Essential Plan will help us further boost coverage in New York and bring us closer to our goal of achieving health equity."

New York's Essential Plan is a state-administered health insurance program that covers individuals and families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but for whom private insurance premiums are too costly. Hochul’s team said, “Since the Essential Plan began in 2015 enrollment has increased three-fold – it currently has 925,000 enrollees and, in addition to Child Health Plus, allows more New Yorkers the kind of affordable preventive care that keeps them and their families healthy. Collectively, New Yorkers are saving $1 billion in health care costs in 2021 by being enrolled in Essential Plan compared with the cost of Qualified Health Plan coverage.”

New York is one of only two states, the other being Minnesota, to take advantage of a provision of the Affordable Care Act that gave states the ability to create basic health programs. These plans were designed to offer affordable health care coverage to individuals and families with low to moderate income who did not qualify for other programs, thus reducing the number of uninsured and underinsured. The Essential Plan has been instrumental in cutting New York's uninsured rate from 10% to 5% since 2013.

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