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New York State has record number sign up through Affordable Care Act

The Healthcare.gov website is shown on a laptop

The Healthcare.gov website is shown on a laptop computer on May 18, 2017. State data showed that 1,023,892 people enrolled in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act, 83,000 more than at the same time last year. Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

New Yorkers in record numbers have enrolled in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, topping 1 million enrollees for the first time, state health officials said Monday.

“Despite the constant threats to the Affordable Care Act, New York’s health insurance marketplace stands strong,” New York State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore said in a statement.

New York State of Health is the health insurance exchange that allows individuals, families and small businesses to shop for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“More than a million consumers have already enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan or the Essential Plan," Frescatore said of the two broad categories under which insurance plans can be purchased.

State data showed that 1,023,892 people enrolled in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act, 83,000 more than at the same time last year.

Last-minute enrollees — more than 16,000 people — signed up for health insurance Saturday, the last day to enroll for Jan. 1 coverage, according to the State Health Department.

The two broad categories, Qualified and Essential health plans, offer similar coverage but different payment structures. Qualified plans are categorized as platinum, gold, silver and bronze, all covering doctor’s visits, hospital stays, emergency, maternity and newborn care, among other services.

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Essential plans include inpatient and outpatient care; physician services; diagnostics, and prescription drug coverage with no annual deductible and low out-of-pocket costs.

An estimated 247,411 people enrolled in Qualified plans, while 776,481 signed up for Essential coverage. Combined with 413,576 youngsters 18 and under, who are enrolled in the Child Health Plus plan and 3.2 million people in Medicaid, more than 4.7 million New Yorkers were covered under plans tallied by Frescatore's office.

Word of the state’s record enrollment arrived as doctors and legal scholars were scrambling Monday to analyze the latest salvo against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

A federal court judge in Texas struck down  ACA on Friday,  saying its mandate requiring consumers to buy health insurance  was unconstitutional. Without the mandate, the law is baseless and can’t stand, ruled Judge Reed O’Connor of the federal District Court in Fort Worth.

 O'Connor's ruling grew out of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by a group of Republican governors and state attorneys general. Some legal analysts said the ruling could force the act back to the Supreme Court.

Dr. Thomas Madejski, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said the lawsuit doesn't bode well for the health care law.

“Friday night’s Federal District Court ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional has the potential to wreak havoc with New York’s health care system,” Madejski said in a statement Monday.

“While the ACA has many flaws that we urge Congress to work to fix, among its strongest attributes are its mechanisms to enable the purchase of health insurance coverage for millions through a variety of subsidy programs,” he said. 

By the numbers

Qualified Health plans    247,411

Essential plan    776,481

Child Health Plus    413,576

Medicaid    3,283,564

Total    4,721,032

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