By Kelsey Durham
With the passing of the March 31 deadline, the state Department of Health announced this week that more than 865,000 residents across the state are now enrolled in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
The Health Department said that of the 865,487 who were insured as of April 1, more than 38,000 people successfully enrolled on March 31 alone, and nearly 134,000 enrolled in the last week of the sign-up period.
Health Department officials also said that more than 70 percent of people who enrolled were previously uninsured at the time they submitted their application.
“Year One on the Marketplace has been a great success, and we’re thrilled that more than 865,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in quality, low-cost insurance,” said Donna Frescatore, executive director of the New York State of Health website where residents enrolled. “Under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have the peace of mind and security that come with having quality, affordable health insurance.”
The Health Department said it believes it is on track to meet or exceed a goal of 1.1 million enrollees by the end of 2016. In New York City, where January 2014 numbers showed that more than 37 percent of statewide enrollees at the time lived, the enrollment numbers are “proof that the new law is working,” according to U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
“No longer will Americans and New Yorkers be at the mercy of insurance companies,” Meng said. “No more denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. No more lifetime caps, no more dropping those who get sick.”
Meng praised certain stipulations of the ACA that she said help further protect Americans, such as allowing parents to keep their children on their plans until age 26 and improving the coverage offered to senior citizens.
“I applaud the president for proving the naysayers wrong and for not backing down from those who sought to derail this law,” Meng said. “It’s time for them to realize that the ACA is here to stay.”
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.