New York health insurance system gets the go ahead
With the current fate of the federal Affordable Care Act unknown, many states have slowed down in making progress on complying with the law’s various provisions. One provision in particular concerns the establishment of health insurance exchanges in each state. These exchanges are meant to help lower the cost of health insurance coverage by increasing competition amongst insurers.
The initiative has been somewhat popular amongst consumers and some insurance companies, but state lawmakers have been divided on the issue since the law was passed in 2010. This has been the case in New York health insurance system, where legislators have shown resistance to building an exchange because of the uncertain future of federal health care reform. Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order that could change that.
The order paves the way for the New York health Benefit Exchange to take shape. The exchange has already won federal authorization from the Department of Health and Human Services and the state has already received sufficient government grants to help build the exchange. The program, however, had been stunted by legislative inaction and concerns that it would not accomplish the goals it was meant to. Some legislators argued that the exchange would be a significant drain on the state’s resources, especially if the Affordable Care Act was dismantled by the Supreme Court.
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Governor Cuomo believes that the exchange’s benefits are too numerous to ignore. The exchange is expected to bring affordable health insurance coverage to millions of New Yorkers, most of whom do not currently have such coverage. Cuomo notes that those purchasing policies through the exchange, whether they be businesses or individuals, could be eligible to receive more than $2.6 billion in federal tax credits and subsidies, collectively.
The executive order allows many of the state’s advisory committees to cooperate in establishing a New York health insurance exchange system. These committees will host a number of panels where consumer advocates, health care providers, insurance officials, and business representatives will respond to public comments regarding the initiative. The New York Health Benefits Exchange is expected to be fully operational on January 1, 2014.