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A More Affordable Health Plan for Working Families

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Beginning in November, the Essential Plan will be offered through the New York State of Health Marketplace as a more affordable insurance option for some New Yorkers. Credit: Griszka Niewiadomski/Freeimages.com.
Beginning in November, the Essential Plan will be offered through the New York State of Health Marketplace as a more affordable insurance option for some New Yorkers. Credit: Griszka Niewiadomski/Freeimages.com.
 By Nia Hamm/Tommy Hough, Public News Service - NY, Contact
October 29, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. – Starting Sunday, many low- and moderate-income New Yorkers will be able to enroll in a new health-insurance plan that‘s more affordable than what's currently offered through the marketplace.

State officials say 2 million people have enrolled in the state's health-insurance marketplace since the Affordable Care Act took effect. But some New Yorkers who don't qualify for Medicaid still can't afford private insurance.

Insert the Essential Plan here.

Advocates such as the Children's Defense Fund's policy associate for health, Andrew Leonard say the plan targets working families and individuals who don't qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.


"The Essential Plan is really applicable to those consumers who find the existing premiums for qualified health plans or private plans in the marketplace too out of reach," said Leonard, "considering the limited resources they might have that typically have to go toward their housing, food or child care."

Those who qualify for the Essential Plan will pay a premium of either zero or $20 depending on their income. Enrollment in the Essential Plan begins Sunday for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Elizabeth Swain, chief executive of the Community Health Care Association of New York, said the plan will help the state continue enrolling as many people as possible — especially the uninsured — while offering more medical services.

"They are eligible for a comprehensive package of services that will make getting access to services that we don't provide at our health centers," she said. "Specialty care and imaging services, some of the non-primary care services. It will make those services accessible to them."

Eligible individuals include those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but earn less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level - roughly between $14,000 and $23,000 for a single person. Immigrants with legal status at this income level, including green-card holders and those seeking refugee status, also are eligible to apply for the Essential Plan.

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