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Obamacare Enrollment In New York: Over 100,000 So Far

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

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For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit CBSNewYork.com/ACA.

NY State of Health, New York’s health care exchange, had a few technical problems when it launched October 1, which officials blamed on higher than expected traffic. But as of the first week of December, 314,000 residents had completed applications and more than 100,000 are fully enrolled.

This level of enrollment is the second highest in the country, topped only by California enrollments. Additionally, New York chose to expand eligibility for Medicaid coverage as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that as of the end of November, nearly 53,000 New Yorkers have been assessed as eligible for this option.

In a December 9 press release, the executive director of NY State of Health Donna Frescatore said, “We are very pleased to see these results, which show that tens of thousands of individuals and across the state are turning to nystateofhealth.ny.gov to access low-cost health insurance.”

The state worked aggressively setting up the NY State of Health insurance exchange, vetting prospective insurance providers, and promoting the exchange. In 2013, 57 health centers with 591 sites across New York launched outreach programs and enrollment assistance to help the nearly two and a quarter million uninsured New Yorkers navigate the new health care exchange.

HHS national enrollment numbers for October and November show that nearly 365,000 Americans have completed the enrollment process. An additional 1.9 million have completed applications, but have not yet selected a plan. More than 800,000 have been determined eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Nationwide, politics is playing a role in how the enrollment numbers fall. Numbers of new enrollees are disproportionally larger in states such as New York that have embraced the new health reform law, set up exchanges and actively promoted their health exchange websites.

States with Republican governors and legislatures, most of whom oppose “Obamacare,” have left administration of their health exchanges to the federal government, and many have not been actively encouraging citizens to enroll. In September, Florida, headed by Republican Governor Rick Scott, went as far as banning navigators, individuals trained to assist people with enrollment, from county health departments. More than two dozen states, all with Republican governors or Republican-controlled legislatures, have opted out of the Medicare expansion, leaving and estimated five million adults across the country ineligible for the free health insurance but not qualified for federal health insurance subsidies.

Residents must enroll by December 23 for insurance to be effective at the beginning of 2014. Open enrollment continues through March 2014.

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Gillian Burdett is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.