NY prepares for health-care exchanges Oct. 1

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New York is touting plans to open its health-care exchange on Oct. 1, unveiling a new name today and saying it will run ads to promote the expected savings for consumers.

The name of the health exchange, part of the federal Affordable Care Act, will be called, “New York State of Health: The official health plan marketplace.”

Health exchange logosThe state plans to start running ads in the coming weeks to promote the new exchanges.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month estimated that New Yorkers who enter the program would see as much as a 53 percent decline in health-care costs. The program is expected to enroll more than 1 million New Yorkers without health insurance.

“There’s no question about it. New York’s exchange is delivering some big savings for New Yorkers,” said Donna Frescatore, executive director of the New York Health Benefit Exchange, in a live online video Tuesday.

On Oct. 1, New Yorkers will be able to choose from dozens of plans offered by the state’s major health insurers, including Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Excellus and MVP Health Plan.

In July, Cuomo announced that the state Department of Financial has approved health insurance plan rates for 17 insurers for the new exchanges.

Consumers and businesses will be able to pick from four tiers of health plans. Previously, New York had a complex web of 15,000 health plans.

Cuomo said the reduction in health-care costs for consumers is the result of uninsured New Yorkers being required to get insurance, which will lower overall premiums.

New York’s health insurance is 18 percent higher in New York than the national average. With the new exchanges, Cuomo estimated that New York would be in line with national averages.

As part of the federal Affordable Care Act, insurers will be prohibited from using a person’s health history from setting rates. Rates will be determined by age, place of residence and the size of a family.

Penalties will start nationwide in January for those who don’t register for health insurance – essentially a deduction on people’s income-tax returns.

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