© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State announces health plan for low-income New Yorkers


In 2016, low-income New Yorkers will have a new option for health coverage on the state health insurance marketplace. 

State Health officials have announced the adoption of a Basic Health Plan that allows people who earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line to enroll in low-cost health coverage.

Premiums cost around $20 a month and there are no deductibles.

Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Service Society, wrote a policy brief in support of the program in 2011. She explains people who earn near 133 percent of the federal poverty level tend to have changes in their income from year to year.

"We’re concerned about people kind of bouncing back and forth between the Medicaid program and Medicaid managed care plans and the Qualified Health Plans in the marketplace which have prospective enrollment," Benjamin says.

Benjamin says the BHP will eliminate barriers to care like high cost monthly premiums, but also the high deductibles that prevent some people for using the insurance that they do have.

"Because the deductible is a huge barrier for people to access care. This is a really great option for lower income people, which is why we pushed for it so hard," Benjamin says.

The state of Minnesota implemented a similar plan in 2014.