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Officials say NY State Health Exchange ready for open enrollment


Officials for the New York State Health Exchange say $27 million will go to help residents connect with insurance -- the same amount as last year. The state health department says it’s ready for the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, starting November 15.

National health care advocates worry that most states will be investing less on support staff to help sign people up for insurance, than was invested last year.

Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, health equity director at Families USA, says the second year of the ACA open enrollment will need resources.

"The first round you get the easiest people. And each further round, you're getting people who are more difficult to reach, have more barriers [to coverage]. So, I don't think we're going to see the big jumps that we saw the first time," explains Hernández-Cancio.

Donna Frescatore, executive director of the New York Health Benefit Exchange, says New York state is making the necessary investment. She says the state’s website has new features and the state is training enrollers to explain the trickier parts of it, like those for the self-employed.

"Because those applications have some sort of unique challenges, working with immigrant populations in New York to be certain that their applications go smoothly, as well as other topics," says Frescatore.

Last year, just under a million New Yorkers enrolled in health insurance through the state exchange. This year’s outreach will include advertising, community events and coordination with local human service organizers.