New Features To Ease Plan Shopping
The state Department of Health announced that year two of the NY State of Health marketplace will introduce several new initiatives designed to make both consumer shopping easier and coverage more accessible.
“With more than 960,000 New Yorkers enrolled in the first open enrollment period, NY State of Health has proven to be an extremely successful program that is well on its way to exceeding the goal of insuring more than one million people by 2016,” said acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “The past year has provided us with numerous insights on how to build upon the program’s achievements in the upcoming open enrollment period.”
Last year, during its first open enrollment period, nearly one million New Yorkers enrolled in health insurance coverage through NY State of Health. Premium rates for 2015 plans will continue to be more than 50 percent lower than they were prior to the establishment of the Marketplace, with nearly 75 percent of the people enrolled getting financial assistance to help further lower their monthly costs.
“Greater outreach efforts will to be our primary focus as we continue to build upon our enrollment success from year one,” added Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health. “Giving people additional opportunities to experience the benefits of the NY State of Health marketplace with its affordability and high-quality health insurance coverage will lead to more enrollments and a healthier New York in more ways than one.”
This year’s open enrollment began on Saturday, Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, 2015 and offers new initiatives that were spurred by the input from NY State of Health consumers, assistors and stakeholders.
The NY State of Health continues to translate many of its informational materials to extend its reach to diverse populations across the state. For 2015, materials will continue to be available in English, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Russian and Spanish.
Select informational materials will be available in 10 new languages: Arabic, Bengali, Hindu, Japanese, Nepali, Polish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yiddish.
During the 2015 open enrollment period, NY State of Health will debut a Spanish version of its website, including an online application for individuals and families, an interactive calendar of events, navigation tools and new “how to” videos.
Thousands of certified assistors, navigators and brokers statewide are available during the enrollment period to assist consumers with the entire process.
Last open enrollment period, the NY State of Health Customer Service Center fielded more than 1.2 million calls and assisted consumers in more than 50 languages. In-person services are also available in 48 languages.
NY State of Health is offering new awareness and innovative outreach tools and materials with additional information to simplify the enrollment process and expand its reach deeper into New York communities and encourage earlier enrollments.
Earlier in October, renewal notices were sent electronically or by mail to more than 300,000 consumers who were enrolled in NY State of Health in 2014. People who do not want to change their coverage in 2015 and whose application status is unchanged from last year do not need to take any action.
NY State of Health is also launching English and Spanish mobile campaigns that enable New Yorkers to opt in to receive enrollment information and deadline reminders on their smart phones while browsing.
A comprehensive state-wide advertising/testimonial campaign to include TV, radio, print and digital media, is scheduled to launch later this month featuring genuine people who were enrolled in last year’s program who will share their unique circumstances and tell how enrolling in coverage through the marketplace has benefited them.
NY State of Health representatives will have a presence at hundreds of New York State events throughout the year to provide information and assistance.
Event information with dates and event locations for each county can be found at https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov /events. Consumers can also find an in-person assistor in their area by visiting the NYState of Health website or calling the NYState of Health Customer Service Center.
More choices, shopping tools
Consumers in many counties will have a greater number of health plan options to choose from in 2015. Plans offered in NY State of Health will continue to be available in four easy-to compare “metal” tiers (platinum, gold, silver and bronze).
To assist consumers in understanding and evaluating health plan options in the marketplace, a new “Plan and Compare” guide summarizing all available plans within each county across New York State will be available for consumers to preview before they begin their application.
A new website feature also allows consumers to shop for plans and get a personalized premium quote without having to enter personal information and complete an application.