You may be eligible for free or discounted NY health insurance. here’s how

ALBANY – About a third of New Yorkers get their health insurance through the state exchange, and there are now higher benefits for income-eligible residents, as well as almost free coverage for those who have touched the state. unemployment this year.

NY State of Health, the official marketplace for the state’s health plan, has more than 6 million subscribers as participation surged during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the toll the virus has taken on the economy.

The US bailout approved by Congress and President Joe Biden in March expanded eligibility for the health exchange and made it almost free for those who have perceived at least a week of unemployment this year and are eligible to income.

The expansion has been successful: more than 111,000 New Yorkers have newly enrolled in a private insurance plan or the Essential plan, a low-cost option for poor residents, since January.

Overall, the health exchange added 600,000 new members this year, while 140,000 New Yorkers are receiving increased tax breaks, according to the state Department of Health.

New York spends more than $ 60 billion a year on Medicaid, which is part of the exchange, the most per capita in the country.

“With these enhanced federal tax credits, the cost of coverage available through NY State of Health is the lowest it has been in recent years. Anyone who needs health insurance should apply today, ”Danielle Holahan, deputy director of the program, said on Friday.

Who is eligible?

The March federal stimulus package extended health care coverage to income-eligible New Yorkers.

New Yorkers with incomes of up to $ 51,040 for an individual and $ 104,800 for a family of four who were previously eligible for tax credits are now eligible for higher benefits under the plan. federal stimulus.

For example, the state said a person in Albany County earning $ 35,000 per year was previously eligible for a tax credit of $ 300 per month. Now, with federal assistance, the benefit is $ 420 per month.

And, for the first time, those who earn more than that are also eligible for a prorated amount of federal tax credits.

Federal law requires that anyone enrolled in the health exchange has to pay no more than 8.5% of their income for an insurance plan available in their county.

So a person living in Brooklyn who earns more than $ 55,000 a year can now receive tax breaks of about $ 230 a month to help pay for their health insurance, the state said.

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What if you perceived unemployment this year?

If you have received at least one week of unemployment benefits this year, you can apply for sick leave through the exchange. And if you are married and your spouse is receiving unemployment, you will also be eligible.

If you’re eligible, the Silver tier plan through the exchange would have the lowest costs, the state said.

Additional savings extend until the end of the year.

How to register?

New consumers can apply for coverage online at, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, or by speaking with a free enrollment assistant.

Current registrants can also make changes by logging into their NY State of Health account.

To learn more about the benefits available under the American Rescue Plan, visit:

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Joseph Spector is the government and policy editor for the Atlantic Group of the USA TODAY Network, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be contacted at [email protected] or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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