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New York Health Exchange enrolls 100,000 in less than two weeks

Although many states had a rocky start enrolling individuals in the federally mandated exchanges, due in part to the troubles of the federal healthcare site, New York has seen a measurable uptick in enrollees over the last two weeks. According to the state Health Department, “New York's health exchange has enrolled more than 100,000 people, up a third in less than two weeks.”

This is great news for those who do not have healthcare and who are pressed against a deadline to find it. Right now, unless Congress decides to intervene, those without coverage are expected to have it by January1, 2014, which means they need to complete the application and enrollment process as early as December 23.

According to reports, “314,146 New Yorkers had completed their applications, and 100,881 people enrolled for coverage starting Jan. 1.” The goal of the state is to have a total of 1.1 million uninsured New Yorkers by the end of 2016.

The executive director of the New York State of Health celebrated New York’s achievement. Donna Frescatore believes that these results prove that Obamacare care is working and more and more people are receiving access to low cost insurance throughout the state.

How many signed up for Medicaid in New York?

What is not clear from the numbers is how many of the enrollees moved into the expanded Medicaid program. New York’s Medicaid program costs New York approximately $50 billion each year. New York also runs its own exchange, unlike many states, offering its citizens choices form sixteen insurers and 10 dental insurance companies.

New York also claims that many of its state citizens will see lower cost options through the exchange, although there was little information about the types of programs they are currently offering and how these programs would compare with others offered on the open market.

What will happen in the future?

What will happen next year? Businesses with fifty or fewer employees may be able to get insurance for their employees through the marketplace. Larger companies, however, will be assessed a fine if they do not offer their employees health insurance. Many experts predict the cost of offering health insurance for larger companies may be so high companies will instead decide to simply pay the penalties.

What if individuals choose not to purchase health insurance? Although there are tax credits for many individuals and families, for instance you may qualify for a tax credit if you earn less than $45,960 as an individual or $94,200 as a family of four, because the penalties for not buying insurance or so low the first few years there may be little incentive for the young and health to purchase insurance.

What if choose not to buy an insurance policy? You can expect to pay a fine. In 2015, the fines could be as low as $95 or 1% of gross income. The fine can grow to as much as $695 a year over time. Still, if you are looking at thousands of dollars extra in costs, many will choose to pay the fine and avoid the marketplace altogether.
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