Extended enrollment deadline keeps State health navigators busy

Dec 16, 2014

Credit St Joseph's Neighborhood Center, Rochester

A month into the state’s second health insurance open enrollment period, officials say the state is on-track to getting more New Yorkers insured. WXXI’s Michelle Faust spoke with Elisabeth Benjamin, the Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society—a key navigator agency in New York State.

The state health department announced more than 154 thousand previously uninsured New Yorkers have signed up for health insurance since open enrollment began on November 15th.

Benjamin says her agency has experienced a high volume of requests for assistance enrolling in the state exchange, despite early speculation that it would be more difficult to reach uninsured people this year.

“Everybody's getting more confident in the website and the idea of enhanced penalties is finally kicking in for folks.”

According to Benjamin, the state’s decision to extend the deadline to enroll for insurance that begins the first of the year has helped.

“We are just getting overwhelmed with calls and email requests for appointments. It seems that a lot of people are going to take advantage of that extra 5 days that New York State was so great to go out and get permission to grant New Yorkers.”

Open enrollment runs until February 15th.