Call centers ready for Affordable Care Act Questions

Posted at: 09/27/2013 6:48 PM
Updated at: 09/30/2013 12:43 PM
By: Benita Zahn

As we approach the rollout of the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, many questions remain.

New York State hired more than 600 people to staff the state's call centers, fielding questions generated by the Affordable Care Act.

“Well the New York state health marketplace, they have, we got a lot of questions about the marketplace they're still learning about the marketplace,” said Shaunte Williams, one of the Customer Service Reps.

The marketplace is like any of the websites you visit to book plane or hotel reservations. There's lots of information that you can compare based on your needs and parameters.

“So is price most important to you? Is the fact that your doctor is in your network most important to you? Is the amount of the premiums or co pay most important to you? So you need to think through what your coverage needs are,” said Ann Vopel of the NYS Department of Health.

The folks at the call center, like Williams, help you sort through what you find on line. They can also help you determine your eligibility for tax credits, which are available for people earning between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty rate.

“The number of health plans will vary depending upon whether you're eligible for one of our insurance eligibility programs, the tax credit, Medicaid,or CHPS and then it depends on the county that you're in,” said Vopel.

A few other things about the ACA to remember:

If you have access to affordable employer provided coverage but you want to opt out and buy your own through the marketplace, you can but you're not eligible for tax credits.

You can start accessing marketplace information online now but the affordable care act doesn’t officially begin until October 1.

And any choices you make now won't take effect until January 1.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, you can visit the New York State of Health website by clicking here.