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Affordable Care Act
Question not answered here? Contact Ask NYPL.
At the library you can:
- Get assistance finding relevant, reliable information on insurance and health topics
- Use technology (computers, Internet, printing) to find information and complete applications on your own
- Find enrolling agencies in your community who can help you sign up for a plan
- Attend workshops and sign up for one-on-one assistance when available
What is the Affordable Care Act?
In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The aim is to improve access to affordable health insurance for everyone and stop insurance companies from abusive practice like denying or canceling coverage for certain reasons.
- For Americans who already have and like their health insurance coverage, the law provides benefits but doesn't require any change. The law also strengthens benefits for the nearly 50 million Americans who rely on Medicare.
- For uninsured Americans or those who don't get insurance coverage through their employer, the law helps by lowering health care costs and allowing people to comparison shop for a plan that best meets their needs.
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The marketplace, sometimes called a health care exchange, is a website that allows you to fill out an application and see the insurance coverage options available to you from private insurance companies and compare side-by-side. The same application can determine whether you are eligible for free or low-cost coverage such as Medicaid. Marketplaces are run by the state or federal government to ensure the plans offered by private companies meet the requirements of the law.
- New York's marketplace is called the New York State of Health
- 7 Things You Need To Know About NY State of Health
- The Marketplace website at healthcare.gov is the primary tool for information about state/federally run marketplaces
Mark Your Calendar
Before October 1 - Prepare relevant documentation and determine your budget and needs for health insurance.
October 1 - Open enrollment begins, and you may begin using New York’s Health Benefit Exchange.
December 15 - To receive coverage by January 1, you must enroll by December 15.
March 31 - The last day of open enrollment. After that you have to wait until October 15 - December 7, 2014
Organize Your Paperwork
⬜ Social Security numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
⬜ Birth dates of family members
⬜ Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or "Wage and Tax Statements"
⬜ Policy numbers for any current health insurance
⬜ Information about any health insurance the family could qualify for from an employer
Shop the Health Insurance Marketplace
New York State residents: healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov
NYC Health Insurance Link - an initiative of the Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services
AccessNYC - General benefit information with anonymous screening.
Calculate Tax Rebates
Tax rebates are available to individuals and households with an income between 100% and 400% of the poverty level (in 2013 this was $23,550 –$94,200 for a family of four). They may be used to directly subsidize premiums or taken as a tax rebate when filing tax forms at the end of the year. To get an estimate of how much subsidy you might qualify for, there is a calculator at kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator and on the New York State site.
Find a Navigator
In-Person Assistors (IPAs)/Navigators can provide in-person enrollment assistance to individuals, families, small businesses and their employees. Get a list of participating organizations in each borough:
(Note: due to high demand, the NY state Health Benefits Exchange site is experiencing outages and other gaps in service. If you encounter a page slow to load, or links that result in an error message, try again at a later time if possible.)
Search the library's programs calendar for upcoming workshops and assistance.
Find Health Information Online
The custom search engine at nypl.org/weblinks/health allows you to search the full text of over 300 consumer health websites for information tailored to the wellness needs of New Yorkers. Low-quality, commercial, and spammy web results are filtered out. Use the tabs to narrow the scope of your initial keyword search.