ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act, requires every state to have a new health insurance marketplace called an exchange.
The exchange will be an online shopping center for small business and for people who don't get health coverage from their employer. Users will be able to compare the costs and benefits of various insurance plans, and they'll be able to find out whether they qualify for federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.
Here are answers to some common questions about the New York health insurance exchange:
Q: How many people are uninsured in New York and how many of those are projected to get insurance under the exchange?
A: New York has an estimated 2.7 million uninsured among roughly 19 million residents. A state analysis indicates they will enroll about 1.1 million people through the New York Health Benefit Exchange.
Q: How many people in New York are currently served by Medicaid and how many more will be served if New York chooses the Medicaid expansion?
A: New York already provides most of the expanded Medicaid coverage called for under the new federal law and covers 5.1 million people, including residents with incomes up to one-third above federal poverty guidelines. The state is expected to enroll another 500,000 people, including 75,000 newly eligible and 425,000 already eligible but not enrolled. The state will receive about $1 billion more in federal support for the program in the coming fiscal year.
Q: How many small businesses are likely to take advantage of the health insurance offered on New York's exchange?
A: About 25 percent, or an estimated 100,000 small businesses, are expected to use the exchange, their employees accounting for about 450,000 of the uninsured who will enroll.
Q: How is the exchange going to be set up in New York and which agency will be responsible for overseeing it?
A: The state-run exchange, established by an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is an operation of the state Health Department.
Q: How far along is New York in setting up an exchange and do officials believe one will be ready to start enrolling people by the October deadline?
A: The state told federal officials it will be ready to begin taking applications in October for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014.
Q: How much money has New York received so far from the federal government to do the initial work in setting up an exchange?
A: New York has received $370 million in federal funds to establish the exchange, including a recent $186 million grant based on progress.
Q: How will residents access the exchange and what kind of customer support will be offered?
A: The state plans to establish a customer service center with online and phone options, with staff to help residents navigate the options. People will also be able to apply in person and by mail.
Q: How many people will the exchange employ?
A: That has not yet been determined.
— Source: New York Health Department.