Interest remains exceptionally high among those wanting to explore the insurance offerings on New York’s online health care marketplace, according to state officials.
After a first-day crush of more than 10 million hits on the website, the capacity of nystateofhealth.ny.gov was doubled, according to the program’s executive director, Donna Frescatore.
In a statement late Wednesday afternoon, Frescatore said that website – New York’s marketplace for insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act – had seen the highest number of visits of any individual state on Tuesday, when enrollment began.
“Since the launch of the New York State of Health marketplace, more than 12 thousand business owners and individuals from across the state have shopped online for low-cost health insurance plans at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, and the site has received nearly 30 million Web visits,” the statement said.
Another 9,000 people were able to get through for help from the marketplace’s toll-free customer service number, (855) 355-5777.
Frescatore also explained, “Like all other states, New York’s website is experiencing significant levels of activity, which is causing some users to experience difficulty entering the site and delays in application processing. ... Our technicians have doubled the site’s capacity and are working around the clock to troubleshoot emerging problems and ensure users have a better experience going forward.”
Estimates are that 2.7 million New York residents do not have health insurance and that about 1.1 million of those people will sign up through New York State of Health in the next two years. Coverage obtained by Dec. 14 begins Jan. 1, 2014, but enrollment for this first year continues through March 31, 2014.
Under the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, all individuals, with a few exceptions, are required to have health care coverage or pay a penalty.
Insurance cannot be denied because of pre-existing conditions, there is no limit on the amount of care a person can receive, and adult children can remain on their parents’ policies through age 26.
Policies are offered in four “metal” levels – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – which reflect the amount of the cost of care the policy will cover. Generally, the lower the premium, the higher the annual deductible will be.
The act also has extended Medicaid coverage to more single working adults and provides federal tax subsidies, based on income, to reduce the cost of the monthly premiums for middle class workers and their families.
Because of the way the health care act is funded, it is not affected by the shutdown of the federal government that resulted from efforts in Congress to delay or abolish it.