Hearings Show Flaws in NY Health Exchange

ALBANY (AP) -

State legislators cited problems Monday with the rollout of the federal health overhaul in New York, with constituents complaining about lost insurance coverage, higher premiums and confusion and limitations of medical networks.

Nearly 300,000 New Yorkers have been enrolled in private insurance or Medicaid since October with the average cost 53 percent lower than comparable individual insurance coverage, Donna Frescatore, executive director of the state’s new health marketplace, New York State of Health, testified at a Senate oversight hearing.

“The launch of NY State of Health has been an overwhelming success,” Frescatore said. “But implementing our state’s insurance marketplace is not a one-time task.”

The marketplace was established under the federal Obamacare law to extend coverage to 2.7 million uninsured New Yorkers. But state data show it enrolled only 76,000 uninsured, and that others signed up for Medicaid or had insurance before.

“The biggest complaint is: ‘I can’t have the doctor I want,’” Sen. William Larkin said.

An estimated 100,000 New Yorkers lost coverage, including sole business proprietors who had insurance through group plans at chambers of commerce or professional associations or through the state’s Healthy NY program.