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Last week, the insurance marketplaces created by Federal and State governments under the Affordable Care act opened to the public. These online exchanges are the means for individuals and families to enroll into healthcare plans provided under the Affordable Care Act. Over 36 states participate in a federally run internet exchange while New York is one of 14 states running separate markets with its own software. The New York State Health Commissioner announced the name for the New York exchange as New York State of Health. With millions of consumers logging onto the Federal exchange and New York State of Health, some of the websites were overwhelmed the first few days. Implementation should improve as the website glitches are fixed.

Although the plans created under the Affordable Care Act are not effective until January 1, 2014, the insurance marketplaces are open for enrollment from October 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014. On the New York State of Health website consumers are able to shop for, compare, and enroll in health coverage. The website appears to be user-friendly and features an interactive map that shows health plans by county. Certain individuals and families will be able to obtain financial assistance provided by the federal government to lower the cost of health coverage. New tax credits to help pay for monthly health insurance premiums are available. Assistance with copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses is also available. The Insurance Affordability Programs include Medicaid, Child Health Plus, Advance Premium Tax Credits, and Cost-Sharing Reductions.

For more information on the New York Exchange, visit New York State of Health Exchange. If you live outside the state of New York, visitwww.healthcare.gov to get quick answers, chat live online with a representative, or find local in-person assistance. If you have questions on how these exchanges impact your Elder Law and Estate Planning needs, we have Attorneys and Counselors available to assist you.

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