By Jude Allume SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In New York State, there are over one million people who are uninsured. The insurance experts at ACR Health are helping people sign up through their Navigator program.
The program sets people up for an appointment with an enroller to go over coverage options. Appointments take less than 20 minutes and are open to everybody, with nearly 40,000 New Yorkers having benefited from the Navigator program since 2013.
ACR Health’s Director of Insurance Programs, Steve Wood, believes right now is a good time to enroll for health insurance because it is unclear what changes will take place once health insurance laws are changed.
“That won’t take effect until next year, before the next open enrollment period,” Wood said. ” That doesn’t apply to this open enrollment period, that doesn’t apply to this open enrollment. We want people to come in and get health care, we want them to get insured.”
Wood also believes it is better to enroll now because insurance prices have dropped 5 percent since last year. New Yorkers also get the advantage of a longer enrollment period as the federal government’s enrollment period ends on December 15, 2017, but New York State’s enrollment period ends January 31, 2018 in an effort to accommodate more people.
In addition, Woods adds that more people qualify for medicaid. Among the people who benefit most from higher income levels to qualify are pregnant women.
“Fifty percent of babies born in New York State are born on Medicaid,” said Wood. “Pregnant women are assessed at a very high level. You’re counted as a family of two and probably about $34,000 to $35,000 or under will qualify you for Medicaid.”
The Senate has extended funding for Child Health Plus, though the insurance program was set to expire on September 30th. The extension is only temporary as some members in the House of Representatives are trying to permanently defund Child Health Plus.
“We cannot have these children without coverage,” said Wood.
According to ACR Health, if Child Health Plus were to be defunded:
- this would leave 351,401 New York Children without health insurance
- including 11,762 in Central New York.
In order to take advantage of the health insurance market as it is now and to be covered before any changes, Wood insists that people use ACR Health to their benefit and enroll.
“If you need insurance,” said Wood. “If you need healthcare, if you’ve been uninsured, if you have a chronic health problem, come and see us. We’re open for business. We want to see you and we want you to have the health care that you deserve. Get insured.”