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Your personal guide to navigating through health care reform.


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low cost health insurance
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OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and help with health care reform questions with two fast and free support options:

Online support:
OnlineNavigator
is an independent adviser service offering free online support about any health reform issue. OnlineNavigator is not acting as agent for any qualified health insurance marketplace and is not affiliated with any federal or state programs. This service is available online 24/7 through email and social media sites usually with same day response. See the web site for details on privacy policy and terms of service.

Telephone support:
Live sales agent support is available during business hours at (800) 609-0683.

Most Liberal Eligibility

Health plans for diabetics - a listing of the health plan options and other resources
Value 24 Hour Accident - up to $10,000 of supplemental health insurance coverage for emergency treatment of injuries at a cost of about $2 per day. Can be used as a stand-alone coverage or added to other insurance.

Most Affordable

Long Term Major Medical

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.

Dental Insurance

Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage

Online Life Insurance

International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US

New York affordable health insurance exchange and supplemental coverage

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, New York had 10 state-sponsored health plans and 31 commercial small group health insurance plans but relatively few commercial insurance companies that issued individual health insurance. Most available coverage options are managed care or HMO plans. These standard health insurance plans may not be affordable to all residents.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses (with less than 50 employees) in New York can now purchase health insurance through the federal heath insurance clearinghouse or through a number of privately operated insurance exchanges. The state government is likely to expand its own insurance exchange system in cooperation with either the federal or private systems within the next few years. Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information. This Web page lists the few popular low cost commercial health insurance plans and related benefits. Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance with any insurance exchange or health reform issue through www.OnlineNavigator.org . Please note that while many of these choices could be included in more than one of the suggested usage categories, each plan is listed only once for the sake of brevity. Your enrollment adviser is available to discuss suitability of any plan for your specific situation.

For 2014, the federally mandate essential insurance benefit plans will be available through the New York Health Benefit Exchange Website.

The state insurance exchange is expected to be online by October 2013 with coverage starting January 2014, so individuals without insurance should make arrangements for temporary coverage until then. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2014 will be different than those offered though any 2013 health plans. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here.

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits. Members Health Insurance Exchange handles pricing and direct online enrollment for many of the state's most popular commercial major medical insurance plans for individuals and families.

low cost health insurance

New York insurance & benefit news

New York had the 15th highest health insurance costs of all states in 2008 with an average family premium of $12,824 per year. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 21st out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state has the 7th highest small business health insurance costs in the U.S. according to a 2010 Department of Health and Human Services report with an average premium of $1,072 per month for family coverage.
New York regulates the benefits required for both individual major medical and group health insurance plans, known as "mandated benefits".

Short Term Insurance

Intermediate Term

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits

Supplemental Insurance

Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.


low cost health insurance

New York insurance law and regulation

The New York Department of Insurance Web site contains consumer help sections for each type of insurance including a section on financially assisted health plans and Medicaid.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, supplemental insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (212) 480-6400 or by mail at 25 Beaver Street New York, NY 10004. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is New York Child Health Plus.

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.

See International Coverage and Travel Insurance Listings/a>


New York Insurance News

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most U.S. residents from age 20 through 60 EXCEPT FOR NEW YORK RESIDENTS directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013. Unfortunately, New York residents must continue to find life insurance through traditional channels.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

12/14/2012 New York is one of a minority of states that will run a health insurance exchange for individuals and small businesses that is not managed by the federal government. Consumer advocates who once viewed a state-run exchange as a positive are growing concerned that the state may not be fully committed to implementing all of the funding and features expected to be part of the federal health insurance exchanges that are expected to open in the fall of 2013.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Oxford Health Insurance, Empire HealthChoice Assurance and Oxford Health Plans are the state's largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

1/19/2012 With just under two year remaining until final individual health insurance reform laws take effect, New York is one of only five states that does not have a short term medical insurance plan available to bridge the gap until affordable basic health insurance becomes available to everyone. Short term medical insurance is popular basic coverage because it is exempt from the restrictions of health reform law and therefore priced less than half of the rate of a plan that includes all state and federally mandated coverage. The lack of short term coverage in the state has boosted medical insurance tourism among those who need immediate coverage for 2012. A policy purchased while residing outside the state provides valid coverage nationwide including within New York.

2/17/2011 The New York Department of Health was granted more than $27 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to design and develop a health insurance exchange to serve all New York state consumers.

2/3/2011 New York is named as one of the states most likely to cut back on Medicaid spending and coverage. The Universal Health Insurance blog discusses the impact on the state's commercial insurance consumers. The 140 page proposal of 49 ways to cut the state's Medicaid spending is available for public comment. New York Bridge Plan

1/1/2011 New York Bridge Plan is available to qualified individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. More information is available on the plan's Website.

12/16/2010 New York Department of Insurance officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, New York said that it would: 1) Determine whether its current insurance regulations that go beyond the protections of the Affordable Care Act should be maintained or whether they need to be modified to limit adverse risk selection in the Exchanges, 2) Compile and evaluate background research from current research platforms and private funding by January 2011, 3) Engage stakeholders in the evaluation, planning and development process throughout the one-year planning period, 4) Evaluate the extent to which New York can or should integrate and build on existing programs, as appropriate, 5) Identify and utilize existing resources and capabilities, as appropriate, throughout the one-year planning period and determine the need for additional resources, 6) Design Exchange governance structure and draft legislation, if required, 7) Evaluate financial accounting, auditing, and reporting requirements and potential pathways to securing compliance, 8) Identify existing technical infrastructure resources and needs, 9) Create business operations plan and policies for Exchange, and 10) Identify legislation and regulations needed to create, promote and regulate the Exchange.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

12/8/2010 Just for further clarification, Core Health Insurance and Short Term Medical Insurance is not available in New York. See further discussion in the article "Core Health Insurance in New York" and the most recent blog posting "

5/13/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in New York is now available at Freedom Benefits.

3/23/2010 The Department of Insurance announced that New York HMOs had premium increases of 17 percent on average this year, with some increases as high as 51 percent.

 10/7/2009 Aetna introduced a new portfolio of low cost insurance plans for small businesses. The lowest cost option is $224 per person per month. The plan will be introduced to brokers in two weeks through a series of training seminars.


editorial information
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This Web site is independently owned and operated by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Any tax advice in this communication including attachments and linked resources cannot be used by the taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.