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More than 2 Million Have Health Care Through State's Health Exchange

  The second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act has ended with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers getting health coverage for the first time. In the state, there are currently 2.1 million people enrolled in health coverage through the state’s marketplace. Of that number, 553,000 who had not enrolled in coverage through the marketplace in 2014, got insured during this open enrollment period which ended February 15th. Exchange Director Donna Frescatore says people are moving off the roles of the uninsured.

“Throughout the period we’ve stayed pretty constant at about 88% of the people who purchased on the marketplace telling us at the time of application that they were uninsured. So we think that’s held very steady and a very important and notable finding here.”

For people who had started their application but were unable to complete it, the deadline will be extended until the end of February. This extension could help to reduce or avoid tax penalties scheduled to go into effect for those who haven’t purchased insurance. The volume of people enrolling increased drastically as the deadline approached. Frescatore believes that threat might have led to the surge.

“Some people learning of the possibility for a federal tax income tax penalty increased their awareness or drove them to the application, but we don’t have any real statistical data on that, we also believe that our efforts, the presence of our in-person assisters in communities all throughout the state is also responsible for that last minute surge.”

She notes the last day was the most heavily trafficked with over 800 calls received every 15 minutes, totaling nearly 26,000.

Total Signups for Obama-care nationally: 11.2 million (includes new enrollees in 2015 and peopel re-enrolled from last year) Total signups in New York: 2.1 million (553,000 were new enrollees )

For people that might face tax penalties, the state of New York is considering opening a special enrollment period, but have yet to make a decision. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.