In an effort to protect consumers from big surprise medical bills, the Cuomo administration has proposed extending out-of-network coverage requirements for emergencies and specialists to all health insurers in New York.
According to the state Department of Financial Services, the requirements currently apply to health maintenance organizations and 16 insurance plans in New York's new health exchange.
The state's new health exchange reports more than 800,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 501,000 of them have now enrolled for specific coverage.
The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 276,681 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and 224,524 in government-funded Medicaid.
Stressing that there's only about five weeks until the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage through the New York State of Health marketplace, the Democratic mayors of Albany, Schenectady and Troy joined community advocates this week at Citizen Action of New York's Albany storefront headquarters to encourage sign-ups.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York needs a Medicaid funding infusion first requested in 2012 to support hospital overhauls and expanded primary medical care to meet growing patient demand under the state's new health insurance exchange.
The exchange has enrolled more than 412,000 New Yorkers for health insurance coverage since October.
Meanwhile, state officials are pursuing a waiver to use up to $2 billion annually from Medicaid over five years to help struggling hospitals cut beds and admissions in a shift to more primary and outpatient medical care.
Massachusetts has received a three-month extension from the federal government to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The extension comes a week after the state adjusted its approach to fix its troubled health care insurance website.
As the March 31 deadline approaches and the website problems have been ironed out, more and more New Yorkers are signing up for health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. The state health department reports 587,000 completed applications have been filed, and enrollment is up 43 percent since December 24. Heather Howard is the program director for the state network, which is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to encourage people to enroll. She recently spoke to WAMC’s Brian Shields.
Health care providers in western Massachusetts are offering their assistance and encouraging people to enroll in insurance plans under the federal Affordable Care Act, which has garnered negative since its rolling out on October 1.