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Local News

December 23, 2013

Locals prepare for health care deadline

Several locals said recently they are ready for today’s deadline to enroll in health coverage through the New York State of Health insurance marketplace.

On Nov. 22, the Obama administration gave consumers eight more days past the original deadline of Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan, as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act.

The state reported last week that 363,258 people had completed applications and were deemed eligible for coverage through the NYS Health exchange, according to Bassett Medical Center Public & Media Relations Director Karen Huxtable Hooker. Among that group, she said, 134,622 New Yorkers were fully enrolled on the exchange, with 95,196 enrolled in private insurances and 39,426 in Medicaid.

The goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is to ensure that everyone in the nation is covered by health insurance and that no one is left uninsured.

According to U.S. Census data, about one in every six New Yorkers younger than 65 lacked health coverage. The New York State of Health exchange was designed to offer a marketplace of plans for uninsured individuals to choose from, as well as to people who buy their own coverage or anyone who may want to switch from an employer’s insurance plan.

Last week the Obama administration announced that anyone whose policy has been canceled can obtain one that offers minimal coverage or bypass the individual mandate entirely by claiming a “hardship” exemption.

The tiered levels of coverage being offered by the state exchange were promoted as being low in cost. Several local people interviewed by The Daily Star in the fall expressed concern over whether the plans would actually be affordable.

Richard Giles and his wife, Holley White, were among the estimated 50 million Americans who were uninsured. Together, they operate Lucky Dog Farm in Hamden. In September, they told The Daily Star that, although they were generally healthy, they were going to be looking into the health exchange to get insured. They were hoping they would be able to afford insurance.

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