July 9, 2012
Around Town by Neal Tepel
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and most provisions as constitutional. The law requires everyone have “minimum essential coverage” beginning 2014. Under the mandate, those that cannot afford to purchase a plan would have health insurance coverage paid for almost exclusively by the federal government beginning in 2014.
In preparation to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had issued an executive order allowing creation of a health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are established throughout the state for the uninsured. New York will receive about a $1 billion annual increase in federal Medicaid funds as a result of this legislation. “We will continue to move forward with implementing the health exchange that will lower coverage costs for New York’s businesses and help ensure that uninsured New Yorkers have access to health care,” Cuomo said on the day of the Supreme Court decision. The expansion of Medicaid eligibility is expected to add 1 million New Yorkers to the program.
Under the mandate, workers without health coverage will qualify for about $12,000 in tax credits and discounts from the insurance exchange. Those that refuse to purchase health insurance will incur a small penalty. Employers with at least 50 employees or more must provide some sort of minimal coverage or pay a penalty. Starting in 2014, the state can require residents to purchase insurance if they are not covered.
“The law has significant fiscal implications for our state, providing more than $1 billion annually in new Medicaid assistance and delivering affordable health coverage for New Yorkers,” said NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.