The state insurance exchange called the New York State of Health is now open. In part two of this series, YNN's Katie Gibas explains the enrollment process.
NEW YORK STATE -- If you've decided you'd rather buy health insurance than pay the penalty, it's time to think about the next step.
"They should think about what their needs are for their providers. What doctors are important to them that they currently see or a facility that they rely on for continual care. They should also think about medications they currently take and look through the formularies of the plans that are available to them to make sure their needs are met through that benefit package," said Sherry Tomasky, the NY State of Health Stakeholder Engagement Director.
Once you have an idea of what you need, head to the New York State of Health website.
"They'll go to the New York State of Health. They will be able to pull down a huge amount of information comparing what products are available, how much they cost, whether or not they can get a government subsidy to help reduce the cost of the product they'd like to buy," said Todd Muscatello, the Excellus BCBS Sales Vice President.
"One of the other value opportunities of the marketplace is that people will be able to compare identical health plans side by side. The benefit packages are standardized, so these are true apples to apples comparisons," said Tomasky.
Once you decide what plan you'd like, you can enroll online. Overall, it should take about an hour. Make sure to have basic information available when you sign up.
"They'll need to be able to tell us how many people are in their household, how many people will need coverage. They'll need to know what their annual household's income is, as well as some other details about people seeking coverage in their household," said Tomasky.
If you need assistance, or are confused about the process, there are many options available to you. In addition to customer service on the phone and live online assistance, there will also be community organizations ready to help you get enrolled.
"There will be navigators. These are funded organizations in every county of the state. They will provide enrollment assistance at community locations at various hours and times of day. And they will also have staff that speak different languages," said Tomasky.
Health insurance won't sell out, but you must be enrolled by March 31.
If you sign up before January 1, your health insurance will kick in at the beginning of the new year. If you do it after January 1, it will start in the beginning of the next month.
If you don't enroll by March 31, you will not be able to enroll again until 2015.
For a more in-depth discussion of the New York State of Health exchange tune to channel 1020 for YNN Health Reporter Marcie Fraser's extended interview.
NY State of Health:
National Health Exchange:
To estimate your tax credit and premium, click the link below, scroll to "downloads" and click "Tax Credit and Premium Rate Estimator":