ALBANY — While Obamacare has come under attack nationally, it still remains popular in New York.
Enrollment in health plans through a state exchange for 2019 is ahead of last year’s pace, the state Health Department announced Wednesday.
With the Dec. 15 registration deadline approaching to be eligible for coverage at the start of the new year, 930,000 New Yorkers have enrolled or renewed coverage in the Essential Plan or a Qualified Health Plan, the state Health Department reported Wednesday. Already there are 51,000 more people newly enrolled in a plan over last year, the agency said.
“The swift pace of enrollment shows that New Yorkers want the affordable health coverage they deserve,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore.
Enrollment in the Essential Plan, a state-run and federally funded coverage plan with premiums of no more than $20 a month for people making up to twice the federal poverty level, has reached more than 760,000, up from about 710,000 at the same point last year, the state said. Enrollment in privately-operated qualified health plans, which are sold through the state healthcare exchange and eligible for federal tax credits, is at 170,000, up from 166,000 at this time last year.
Bill Hammond, health policy director for the Empire Center For Public Policy, said even with the federal government having done away with the Affordable Health Care Act’s individual mandate that requires people to have coverage or face fines, the growth in enrollment shows “there’s a continuing demand for Obamacare in New York State.”
“In New York, the idea the Obamacare marketplace is on the verge of collapse obviously isn’t true,” he said. “People still need insurance and they’re still happy to have this as an option.”
The state did not provide information on Medicaid enrollment or the Child Health Plus program that helped push total enrollment through the state health exchange this past year to more than 4.5 million.