New York State Exchange Enrollment Deadline

New York State Extends Exchange Enrollment Deadline to December 20

Independent Health to offer new, innovative products and benefits for 2015

Williamsville, N.Y., December 12, 2014 - New York State has extended the deadline for individuals to enroll for health coverage in New York State’s public exchange – New York State of Health – to December 20, 2014, for coverage beginning January 1, 2015 (December 15 was the original cut-off enrollment date for January). The final date to enroll for coverage in the state exchange is February 15, 2015, for coverage effective March 1, 2015.

Individuals still looking at their options during this enrollment period will see they have a number of coverage choices. The extent of choices makes it extremely important for those shopping for health insurance to consider all their options and coverage needs.

According to Nora McGuire, chief marketing officer for Independent Health, this is an important decision a consumer makes only once a year, so evaluating coverage on overall value is essential. Value includes the plan’s premium as well as the following considerations:
  • Network: Are my doctors and my preferred hospitals and facilities in the plan’s network? Will it cost me more if I want to use a certain provider?
  • Quality: What is the health plan’s quality ranking by sources such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)? Which plan do my doctors and other providers find easier to work with?
  • Customer Service: Does the health plan have a good customer service track record? What is the company’s familiarity with this region?

In keeping with its leadership efforts to provide innovative products and benefits to engage consumers in their health, Independent Health is offering new and expanded products and benefits for 2015. These expanded options include a new, innovative product for individuals and small groups, and a new telemedicine benefit.

Max is Independent Health’s new exchange product which includes benefits and special features that fill coverage needs and health interests for busy individuals and families looking for convenient access to health care and services. Max has a high deductible, but offers low out-of-pocket costs for primary care visits, urgent care services, Tier 1 prescriptions, and telemedicine visits, all of which are not subject to the member’s deductible, explained McGuire.

New for 2015, and unique to Max, is an expanded wellness benefit with a 50 percent allowance – up to $50 – for a wearable activity tracker for both the subscriber and their spouse or domestic partner. In addition, members who select Max will be able to choose between Independent Health’s popular nutrition benefit or a fitness benefit at local gyms.

Other changes for 2015 include expansion of the network for Independent Health’s Choice Plus product. Choice Plus is a fully insured product introduced last year as part of Independent Health’s partnership with Catholic Health and Catholic Medical Partners. With about 1,300 members already, Choice Plus is Independent Health’s fastest-growing product on the Exchange and is expected to continue to grow due to its competitive premium and the addition of more high-performing primary care physicians from The Primary Connection into the network, according to McGuire.

Although Choice Plus provides members with the opportunity to seek medical care at hospitals and from other providers within and outside the Independent Health network, the lowest out-of-pocket costs are achieved by using hospitals, facilities and physicians that are part of Catholic Health, Catholic Medical Partners and Buffalo Medical Group, and beginning in 2015, about 190 primary care physicians from The Primary Connection.

"Choice Plus is another step in the evolution of the new health care marketplace, with increased provider accountability for delivering safe, effective, efficient medical care to our members, which leads to lower costs as evident by its competitive pricing," explained McGuire. Premiums for Choice Plus will start at $330 for a single plan in the individual market and $285 for a single plan for small groups.

The Primary Connection is an innovative, physician-led initiative that takes a coordinated approach to enhanced quality, access and affordability. Composed of a group of 190 high-performing primary care physicians, The Primary Connection is designed to focus on the patient to improve the experience of care, achieve seamless coordination of care with specialists and other providers, and improve health outcomes, which will lead to lower costs in the long term.

Catholic Medical Partners is a national leader in building an integrated delivery system among and between physicians and health care systems. Its investments in technology, care management, and patient-centered care are the core building blocks of a 21st century health care system, focusing on prevention, early detection and treatment, and improved care for patients with chronic health conditions.

About Independent Health

Independent Health, a not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Buffalo, New York, serves nearly 375,000 members and provides innovative health care products and benefits designed to engage consumers in their health and well-being. Established in 1980, our comprehensive portfolio of progressive products include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, individual and small group Exchange products, consumer-directed plans and health savings accounts, plus coverage for self-funded employers. Our subsidiaries and affiliate companies include pharmacy benefit management, specialty pharmacy and the Independent Health Foundation. The company has been recognized nationally for its award winning customer service, dedication to quality health care and unmatched relationships with physicians and providers. To learn more, go to