Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Sept. 18 that the Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through Dec. 31, 2020, as the State continues to provide supportive services during the COVID-19 public health crisis. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York State’s health insurance marketplace, or directly through insurers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and it’s more important than ever for New Yorkers to have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance,” Gov. Cuomo said. “New York has resources available to help those who need coverage during this difficult time, and anyone who doesn’t currently have health insurance, regardless of the reason, should visit NY State of Health and enroll today.”
“While we’ve crushed the curve of the virus, we are still in challenging times for hard-working families throughout the state who need access to quality, affordable health care,” the Governor continued. “The state has maintained low infection rates and is moving in the right direction, but we know we’re not out of the woods yet. By offering this special enrollment period, we’re making sure New Yorkers who need affordable, and at times life-saving health care coverage, can get it.”
New York State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore said, “With the ongoing public health emergency, the ability to enroll in coverage prior to next year remains important. The extension of the special enrollment period through the end of the year will overlap with the annual Open Enrollment Period, which will permit consumers to continue coverage into 2021 without a break in coverage.”
Why should you enroll in a health plan through NY State of Health?There are many reasons to enroll in health insurance and NY State of Health makes it easy to shop for and enroll in comprehensive, low-cost coverage. There are many health plans to choose from. You can get help from a trained assistor. And, you may qualify for free coverage or for help paying for your coverage.
When can I enroll?Enrollment depends on which program you are eligible for, which is based on age, income and other factors. Enrollment is open all year if you are eligible for Medicaid, Child Health Plus or the Essential Plan. Otherwise, you can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period such as now during the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, if you are eligible. American Indians and Alaskan Natives can enroll anytime during the year for any NY State of Health program.
How will I know which program I am eligible for?There are three easy ways to find out if you are eligible for health coverage:
• Apply online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov
• Call the Customer Service Center at 1-855-355-5777
• Rather meet in person? We have trained assistors at Finger Lakes Community Health. Some are bilingual or a translator can be made available to meet the applicant’s needs.
Enrolling just got easier. Reach out for help.Finger Lakes Community Health has assisted New Yorkers with getting health insurance since the 1980s. The Financial Advocates at Finger Lakes Community Health will walk you through the health insurance enrollment process from start to finish. Insurance enrollment can be complicated and frustrating, why not let the Financial Advocates at Finger Lakes Community Health break down those barriers and assist you in the process. The best part is that there is no cost for the Financial Advocates assistance — it is completely free. Our Financial Advocates follow our company motto by “Taking the time to care.”
To speak with a Financial Advocate, call our Administrative Offices at (315) 531-9102. Our staff will direct you to a Financial Advocate in your area and help you schedule an appointment to meet with them.
Ruth C.I. Modaffari is a NYS Certified Application Counselor and Financial Advocate Program Manager with Finger Lakes Community Health, an independent healthcare organization with eight health centers in the region.