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Popular Health Care Questions Answered

8:31 AM, Oct 2, 2013   |    comments
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  • New York State of Health
  • Buffalo , NY -- Many people have questions about how the health exchange works and who can shop for coverage.

    According to our panel of experts, people are mainly concerned about whether they should change their coverage plan and the cost.

    The first question is from Sherry Davies from Twitter. Sherry says: "I own my own business and buy my own healthcare. Would I be able to go to the exchange to get less expensive healthcare?"

    Christin LoFaso from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, part of our panel of experts, provides the answer.

    "Yes, of course. That will be available to them in the New York State of Health Marketplace and they can enroll through the shop or small business health plan options," says LoFaso.

    The next question was a popular one on the phone lines Tuesday: Is anyone exempt from signing up for coverage?

    Remember that starting next year, if you do not have health insurance, the federal government will fine you one-percent of your yearly income, or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. So can you opt out?

    "There are exemptions. That would have to do with religious affiliation or those members of a Native American tribe. And for further clarification on that, I would strongly encourage visiting the website or calling the contact center," says LoFaso.

    The fee for not having insurance increases every year. In 2016, it is 2.5% of your income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.

    There are also hardship exemptions given on an individual basis.

    Now for the most popular question for our panel of experts: If I'm currently enrolled in Medicare, what do I have to do?

    "The answer is simply nothing. They are currently enrolled in Medicare and it will be processing as normal for them," says LoFaso.

    You have to sign up by the end of March if you want to sign up for one of the exchanges. Otherwise, you have to wait until next October for open enrollment.

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