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Monthly Health Topics

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Obamacare

By George Hulse, Vice President of External Affairs, Healthfirst
I have the pleasure of helping to support the health and care of our New York communities through my daily work. Looking out for one another is a big part of my personal philosophy in maintaining good health.
That’s why my organization, Healthfirst, partners with organizations that play a positive role in the community. We sponsor hundreds of health education events throughout the city each year, educating New Yorkers who have questions about important changes in healthcare.
As you may know, beginning last month, New Yorkers are now able to apply for health insurance through the New York State of Health, the State’s health plan marketplace. Coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014. And no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
Since it is a complex time right now, with all the changes from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I want to lay out the top five things you need to know about Obamacare:
1. You are eligible for health insurance through the New York State of Health if you:
• Live in New York
• Lack insurance or are under-insured
• Are 64 years of age or younger
• Are not eligible for a public program like Medicaid
• Are a legal citizen or resident
2. Open enrollment this year is October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014. Anyone who does not have healthcare insurance by April 1, 2014 may have to pay a penalty: $95 for an individual or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater
3. Financial assistance is based on income and family size. You may be eligible for more affordable coverage if you: earn less than $45,960 as an individual or earn less than $94,200 for a family of four
4. Healthfirst is a health plan that you can believe in, with more than 24,000 providers and specialists and top New York hospitals in our network, and 92 percent of our providers are accepting new patients
5. Healthfirst offers perks that other health plans don’t! We offer 24/7 online access where you can:
• Get reimbursement for going to the gym
• Find a doctor, pharmacy, or clinic in our extensive network
• Change your doctor
• Access pharmacy benefits
• View recent medical services and authorizations
• View and pay premiums
George Hulse is Vice President of External Affairs at Healthfirst. For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit www.healthfirst.org

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