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NY State of Health enrollment deadline nears

Individuals who are planning to buy health insurance coverage through the NY State of Health marketplace have a few days left to do so if they want coverage to start on New Year’s Day.

December 23 is the deadline for individuals to enroll in a health insurance plan on the marketplace for coverage to begin on January 1. You can still enroll in a plan until the end of March, but coverage will start on or after February 1.

NY State of Health at nystateofhealth.ny.gov is the online marketplace where you can shop, compare and enroll in a new health plan.

“It’s not too late for individuals to do their homework and enroll in a health plan that participates in the marketplace,” said Lynne Scalzo, vice president, Business Strategy and Administration, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “So far, we’ve been impressed by the number of individuals who have researched their options and have called us or used our online tools.”

In October and November, nearly 17,000 people used the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield online tax credit calculator. About 29,000 individuals also visited the company’s online provider finder tool. Many individuals use the provider finder tool to determine whether their doctors and hospitals are part of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield network. The health insurer’s call center daily handles hundreds of marketplace-related phone calls.

To research your options:

• Learn about health insurance. Watch videos or read up at youtube.com/excellusbcbs, excellusbcbs.com/findcoverage or nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

• See if you’re eligible for financial help. Your premium may be reduced if your household income is below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,960 for individuals or $94,200 for a family of four. For help, go to chooseexcellus.com/TCCalculator.

• Determine your health care needs. List your typical health services and costs in a given year. Use the list to pick a plan that fits your needs. If you go to the doctor a lot, for example, you may want a plan with lower copays for doctor visits.

• See which health plan works with your doctor. It can be costly to see a doctor, pharmacy or hospital that’s not in a health plan’s network. You may need to check this information with your provider or health insurer. For help, go to excellusbcbs.com/findprovider.

• Consider all costs. Consider all health plan costs, such as premiums, deductibles and copays.

Individuals who have marketplace-related questions, including inquiries about non-subsidized coverage, can call Excellus BlueCross BlueShield at 1-888-316-4549.

Please note that deadlines referenced in this release refer to individuals who buy insurance directly from the NY State of Health marketplace. If you have health insurance coverage through an employer, these deadlines do not apply.