By JIMMY LAWTON
The New York Health Care Exchange is officially up and running, despite a federal government shutdown and some computer glitches.
The market is part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” The exchanges are expected to reduce health care costs through a competitive market and insure about 1.1 million New Yorkers who did not previously have coverage.
The market went online today at www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Here, subscribers are able to view plans, compare costs, find out what subsidies they are entitled to, and sign up for insurance.
During the morning hours people were able to get through to the exchange, however some error messages were popping up during the log in process.
Many people will be able to access the exchange from their home, but for those without internet access or computers there are other options.
Those without access can 1-855-355-5777 for help in enrollment.
For those who feel they need help with the process, there are several even more options. Navigators, like Snell, have been trained to assist people the process. In St. Lawrence County, The Health Initiative, ACR for Health in Canton, and Community Health Center, have navigators or in person assistors.
The St. Lawrence County Chamber if Commerce, Health Initiative and Greater Watertown North Country Chamber also have trained individuals onsite who will focus on helping small businesses navigate the exchange once they are allowed to enter the market.
Anyone in need of assistance is urged to contact one of the agencies that have professionals trained to help guide people through the process.
In St. Lawrence County professional help can be found at:
• Health Initiative, 439 New York 56, Potsdam, 13676, 261-4760
• ACR in Canton, 101 Main Street, Canton, 13617, 386-4493
• Community Health Center in Canton, 4 Commerce Lane, Canton, 13617, 386 – 8191
• St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, 101 Main Street Canton, 13617, 386-4000.
Additional assistance is available online at http://www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/