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Local News

September 30, 2013

Area readies for Affordable Care Act


Health care experts are predicting that with many more people enrolled in health coverage plans, the demand for medical services is bound to increase with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. Some experts also say there will be more jobs for lab technicians, nurse practicioners, medical billing clerks and those skilled in digitizing patient records.

One of the region’s biggest employers now is also a major player in the health care industry, Bassett Healthcare Network. Bassett spokeswoman Karen Huxtable-Hooker said whether the demand of health care services will increase as a result of the introduction of the exchanges won’t be known immediately.

But she said Bassett expanded its primary care programs in anticipation that the exchange would lead to uninsured people getting coverage, a development that Bassett supports.

Huxtable-Hooker noted that Bassett has expanded primary care access in Delaware County, with the opening of the health center in Andes and expanding the primary care health center on the O’Connor Hospital campus. She said Bassett is also moving ahead with its relocation of an expanded primary care health center in Cobleskill.

Meanwhile, Bassett is expanding its primary care center in Little Falls.

State Department of Health officials estimate that 1.1 million New Yorkers will sign up for insurance through the new marketplace.

The premium costs for even the highest level plans, they say, will come to less than half of what consumers paid when they purchased insurance on their own. The costs will be even less for those with limited income, thanks to federal tax credits that are awarded up front to defray the cost of co-pays and deductibles.

To be eligible for the credits, individuals and families must have incomes that are below 400 percent of the federal poverty level: $45,960 for individuals and $94,200 for a family of four.

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