WASHINGTON – This past Thursday, Families USA hosted a conference in which health exchange directors from different states reported on the 2014 health coverage enrollment period for their respective state marketplaces.
Families USA is a national organization that describes itself as nonprofit and nonpartisan with the goal to help Americans acquire quality and affordable health coverage.
Open enrollment began for New York on Oct. 1, 2013, and closed on March 31, 2014. While the enrollment period has closed, there is a special enrollment period open until April 15 for people who started an application, but were not able to finish selecting a plan for reasons outside of their control.
Five states were represented at the conference, one of which was New York State.
According to the NY State of Health website, there were 1,294,152 completed applications and 933,232 people enrolled in commercial or government plans during the enrollment period for the state.
Peter Lee, Executive Director for Covered California, was very pleased with California's enrollment, but explained that more work was required than expected in order to reach those high numbers.
“Many people needed many touches to get across the finish line. They need human contact and multiple contacts to help because the process can be confusing.”
This was a similar issue across the country and locally. In Chenango County, the Chenango Health Network addressed this problem by helping area residents apply for and choose coverage.
Louise Perry, IPA/Navigator for the network, explained her role as a Navigator in the county in an email interview.
“The role of a Navigator is to assist individuals and businesses with the application process through the New York State of Health Marketplace. The Navigator offers unbiased information to help people understand their health insurance options,” she said. “All Navigators have completed rigorous training and continually receive program updates.”..