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The New York Health Benefit Exchange

Originally Posted: October 28, 2011

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

Sag Harbor - This past June, I supported the establishment of the New York Health Benefit Exchange. The legislation, which passed the Assembly (A.8514) but not yet the Senate (S.5849), establishes the centralized health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses that is federally required for every state in the country. The New York Health Benefit
Exchange would provide information on the different types of public and private plans available in the state, and would allow individuals and small businesses to aggregate their purchasing power so they can buy private health insurance at a less expensive rate. The Assembly passed this legislation swiftly to make sure several of the key deadlines in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could be met.

The legislation will provide individuals with the best health care possible under federal requirements. Included are various studies specifically targeted to give New Yorkers the greatest benefits without any undue costs, including investigating the role of the exchange, its operating expenses and the benefits it would offer along with the different advantages and disadvantages of a state-run system.

To receive federal funding for the exchange programs, states must apply before June 29, 2012 and New York State must have an operational exchange by January 1, 2014. The Assembly's New York Health Benefit Exchange will create a system with enough time to meet the pertinent federal deadlines while ensuring that the federal funding and consumer protections we need remain in place.

For New Yorkers who don't receive health insurance through their employers
or are still struggling to find work, the creation of a Health Benefit Exchange will help with the daunting task of identifying the right type of cost-effective insurance. Access to health care is a fundamental right for everyone and with a sputtering economy, many families rely on our help now more than ever to get the quality care they need.

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