Staff at Excellus in the Utica Business Park have been preparing for Tuesday's roll out of the state health exchange since even before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law three and a half years ago.
"We've been preparing for it since the day it was announced," said Regional President Eve Van de Wal. "We have a whole team of people who work on it, from lawyers to sales people, just to be prepared."
The goal of the new law is to make sure everyone in the U.S. has health-care coverage. These health-care exchanges - sort of open marketplaces where people can shop for insurers and rates - are how states are implementing the new law. Beginning Tuesday, the uninsured can shop online for health insurance much like they would for anything else, choosing from different insurers, different levels of coverage and different premiums, depending on where they live.
"If you are someone who uses a lot of medical services, you may want to pay a higher premium than pay less out-of-pocket," Van de Wal said.
"If you're someone who does not go to the doctor very frequently, you're healthy, you may want to pay less for premium and when you go you'll pay a little more out-of-pocket because you're not going as often," says Van de Wal.
You must be enrolled in a plan through the exchange by Dec. 15 in order to be covered by the first of the year. Those who do not have any coverage after the first of the year are subject to possible financial penalties.
For questions about eligibility, available plans, coverage levels and more, go to WKTV.com for a link to the nysofhealth website.