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New York makes steps toward Obamacare

To be eligible for NY Bridge Plan, people need to have at least one of the medical conditions listed in the insurance application and not have had health insurance for at least the last six months. Any conditions not listed will be subject to medical review and applicants will be asked to submit medical records for consideration. NY Bridge Plan is a temporary program that will be available until Jan. 2014 when other provisions of Obamacare go into effect.

NY Bridge overlays other health insurance options that are offered by the state. It covers primary and specialty care, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drugs as well as assistance from professional nurses and caseworkers to help members manage chronic conditions and maintain overall health. Patients must see doctors within the network. Coverage premiums are $362 a month for Upstate residents. A $421 monthly fee applies to Downstate residents. Copays apply. Enrollment is on a first-come, first serve basis. If NY Bridge reaches capacity, a waiting list will be established. For information, visit www.nybridgeplan.com or call 1800-693-9277 (TDD: 1-877-448-4975). NY Bridge differs from plans like Family Health Plus in that there are no income eligibility requirements.

Other changes taking place before the end of 2010

Help for Early Retirees.

In June, help for early retirees went into effect. (This reform creates a temporary reinsurance program, until a more permanent one becomes available). The Help for Retirees serves to benefit insurance plans that insure people who are 55 and older, who have already retired, and do not yet qualify for Medicare. The Affordable Care Act cites that health spending for the average person age 55 through 64 is about 50 percent greater than the average for people ages 45 to 54. This assistance is available for insurance plans that insure early retirees. It is designed to help offset up to 80% of the health benefits, based on an individual's need. Employers who are accepted into the program will receive reinsurance reimbursement for medical claims for retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. For more information, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/fact-sheet-early-retiree-reinsurance-program.

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