August 21, 2013

New York launches health-benefit market

ELIZABETHTOWN — New York launched its health-benefits exchange program Tuesday in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act, offering local plans and providers.

The health-plan marketplace, structured by the State Department of Health, is called New York State of Health.

With 20 health-care insurance providers and 12 dental plans, the system is designed to supply affordable health insurance for state residents ages 19 to 64, officials say.

Nearly 2.7 million New York residents age 65 and younger do not have health insurance.

New York State of Health includes insurance tailored for small-business owners with two to 50 employees.


Donna Frescatore, executive director of the state’s New York Health Benefit Exchange, unveiled the new brand and its interactive website Tuesday in an online Livestream broadcast.

Leo Mamorsky, executive account director of DDB New York, the ad agency that developed the brand, said their research looked at statistics across the state, recognizing that “one size does not fit all.”

DDB’s contract for the Health Benefit Exchange advertising and public outreach is more than $40 million.

“New York state received $40.17 million from (U.S.) Health and Human Services for marketing and advertising over a two-year period,” State Department of Health spokesman Jeffrey Hammond told the Press-Republican Tuesday. 

“This figure represents the DDB contract value.”


In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced approval of the first group of insurance providers.

Rates — qualified by DOH for the exchange  — represent a 53 percent reduction compared to direct-pay individual rates found in the wider health-care market, according to the official announcement Tuesday.

“New York’s health-benefit exchange will offer the type of real competition that helps drive down health-insurance costs for consumers and businesses,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement last month.

Plans had to be approved for inclusion in the exchange based on strategic guidelines, according to the Department of Health announcement, “that set limits on out-of-pocket expenses — such as deductibles, co-payments and federal out-of-pocket maximums, and meet other state and federal requirements.”

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