Nearly 950,000 New Yorkers sign up for health insurance

Donna Frescatore, executive director of New York State Donna Frescatore, executive director of New York State of Health, speaking in a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Families USA, said the exchange has done several things to retain enrollees this year and attract the still uninsured: Photo Credit: nystateofhealth.ny.gov

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Nearly 950,000 New Yorkers had signed up for health insurance on the state's exchange as Tuesday's application deadline neared.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, 1,311,271 New Yorkers had completed applications and 949,428 had enrolled for coverage since the exchange opened Oct. 1, according to NY State of Health. Of those, 429,894 signed up for private insurance and 519,534 qualified for Medicaid.

Final enrollment figures through the 11:59 p.m. cutoff were not immediately available.

The state said that since March 31 -- the initial deadline -- another 83,000 have enrolled for insurance on the exchange. The state extended the deadline to accommodate those who had started the process but were unable to finish enrollment by the end of March.

More than 70 percent of enrollees had no insurance before, the state said.

"We are well on our way to meeting or exceeding our goal of enrolling 1.1 million by the end of 2016," said Donna Frescatore, executive director of New York State of Health, the state's health plan marketplace.

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Janine Logan, spokeswoman for the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, one of three lead agencies on Long Island the state designated to help enrollees, said that in the past two weeks the council hasn't seen "the mad push" it saw on March 31. The council processed 40 applications that day and about 400 for March, Logan said.

From now on, only those individuals and families who qualify for a special enrollment period can sign up for coverage for 2014. Qualifying events include getting married or divorced, gaining a dependent, losing employer insurance or permanently moving to New York.

Anyone else without health insurance must pay a fine of $95 or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. The next enrollment period for individuals and families begins Nov. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.

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Those eligible for Medicaid -- government insurance for low-income people -- and all children can enroll on the exchange at any time during the year. The state's small business marketplace for employers with 50 or fewer workers is also open to enrollment throughout the year.

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