WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Trump administration slashes funding to promote Obamacare but no direct impact on NY exchange

Sep 5, 2017
Originally published on September 4, 2017 6:05 am

The Trump administration is cutting funding to programs that promote Obamacare – by a lot.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a statement detailing major changes to  budgets for advertising and grants to nonprofits that employ navigators to help people sign up for plans.

“It’s really bad for the nation, however, that said, it’s not so bad for New York,” says Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president for health initiatives at Community Service Society of New York, the largest navigator program in the state. “This advertising budget that the Trump administration is slashing – and the navigator or enroller budget – is really for people using that federal marketplace,” Benjamin says.

The budget cuts apply to any states using the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, but states like New York that run their own marketplaces fund their own outreach and navigators at this point.

“The federal announcement actually does not impact New York state at all,” says Marci Natale, director of communications, outreach and marketing for New York State of Health.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also noted that the upcoming enrollment period will last 45 days shorter this year, going from November 1 to December 15.

It is unclear whether New York will mirror this window or not.

“Open enrollment in New York state will start November 1, as it will everywhere else. We expect to make a decision soon as to when it will end,” Natale says.

In years past the enrollment window has ended on January 31. 

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