So what does the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act mean to New Yorkers? Not nearly as much as it does to people in other areas of the country.
New York is one of eight states (the others are Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon, Maine) that passed 10 major protections outlined in Obamacare into state law. These protections would have held in the Empire State regardless of what the Supreme Court did.
* Plans cannot drop patients once they get sick
* No refusal to cover children with pre-existing conditions
* No annual coverage dollar limits
* Plans must provide access to OB/GYN care
* Plans must cover birth control on the same basis as men’s health care
* Plans must cover preventive care with no co-pays
* The insured can choose their primary care doctors and pediatricians
* Plans can’t contain lifetime coverage limits
* Plans must provide access to emergency care with no approvals needed
* Parents must be able to keep young adults on their plan to age 26
In addition, the Medicaid expansion called for under the new federal health care rules will have far less effect on New York, with its very liberal and extensive Medicaid coverage, than it would in states with more restrictive programs.
The biggest changes for New Yorkers are these: They will be required to purchase health insurance if they can afford it, or pay a fine if they choose not to, and insurance won’t be able to turn down coverage for adults, even when they have pre-existing medical conditions.
More will become clear as the law is detailed and implemented, but those are the big headlines for New Yorkers at the outset.
Pictured Above: Brianny Abreu, 6, has her vitals checked at the William F. Ryan Community Health Center in New York.