NY Obamacare draws record 4M signups for 2018

| New York Daily News

New York’s Obamacare program reached a new high, with more than 4.3 million people signing up for healthcare coverage, state officials announced Thursday.

The 2018 totals marked an increase of about 700,000 people from a year ago, officials said. The 2018 enrollment period ended on Jan. 31.

“Covering 4.3 million New Yorkers is truly a historic milestone,” said Donna Frescatore, executive director of the NY State of Health marketplace.

Of those using the Obamacare marketplace, 2.97 million used the site to enroll in Medicaid and 738,851 used it to sign up for the Essential Plan – a state-run and federally funded coverage plan for people making up to twice the federal poverty level.

Another 374,577 enrolled in Child Health Plus and 253,102 obtained private insurance, up from 242,880 a year ago.

Bill Hammond, director of health policy for the Empire Center, said the increase in private insurance sign-ups came despite a 14% increase in the average premium.

“It tells me that people are still interested in having insurance even if they are paying a lot of money for it,” Hammond said.

Hammond also warned that the growth in Essential Plan enrollment – up nearly 74,000 from a year ago – could spell trouble for the state because the Trump administration has indicated that it will no longer fund such plans.

“The state may have to absorb more of the cost,” Hammond said.

Gov. Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week that New York and Minnesota were filing lawsuits challenging the President’s decision last fall to cut off the more than $1 billion that supported state-run health insurance programs.

Cuomo has signaled that the state will continue its Obamacare programs regardless of the federal actions.