Saturday 26 November 2022
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Excellus, State to Offer New Low-Cost Health Plans in 2016

By Staff


excellus newExcellus BlueCross BlueShield will offer a new health plan in 2016, with monthly premiums of $0 or $20 per month, officials from the organization stated.

The “Essential Plan” will be subsidized by New York state, and one of several plans with low premiums, and similar benefits, sold to eligible individuals in the NY State of Health marketplace.

The state chose to offer the plans for lower-income individuals who may not be not eligible for Medicaid, as an option afforded under the Affordable Care Act.

The new plans will be available January 1, 2016.

“The new Essential Plan is for individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid, and don’t have access to affordable health coverage,” Lynne Scalzo, vice president of business strategy and administration at Excellus, stated. “Our goal is to inform eligible individuals that they might be able to purchase affordable health coverage, possibly for the first time.”

According to Scalzo, Excellus will determine who qualifies for the new plan based on household size and income.

Households at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($17,655 for a household of one; $36,375 for a household of four) will not pay a monthly premium for the plan. Households between 151 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,540 for a household of one; $48,500 for a household of four) will pay a monthly premium of $20 for each adult.

The plan’s members will also have access to the following benefits:

  • A wide selection of doctors and hospitals;
  • Routine preventive care checkups, screenings and immunizations for a $0 co-payment;
  • No deductible;
  • Prescription drug coverage;
  • and $400 per year toward a fitness facility, or individual fitness-class reimbursement.

The federal penalty for going without health insurance in 2016 will be $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of an individual’s household income, whichever is greater, Scalzo stated.

“For those who qualify for an Essential Plan, you can now purchase health insurance for $0 or $20 a month, and avoid the financial penalty,” she said. “The Essential Plan might be a good option for young adults purchasing health insurance for the first time.”

Eligible individuals who are not currently enrolled in a plan on the marketplace, will be able to purchase an Essential Plan when the open enrollment period begins Nov. 1.

Interested individuals may visit, or call Excellus at 1-888-370-7098, to find out if they qualify for the plan.