In its second year, the Health Insurance Marketplace is working to insure millions of Americans who otherwise would not have health care. With many of the glitches from last year’s opening taken care of, New Yorkers are taking advantage of the enrollment period (November 15, 2014 until February 15, 2015) to get signed up for Obamacare. Here is a comprehensive map of New York State, showing the number of enrollees by zipcode so far this year:
This article from the New York Times, which ran before the enrollment period opened, describes a number of way different states prepared their state exchanges for November 15. As you may remember, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012), states could opt into Medicaid expansion and choose to create their own exchanges. New York State opted into both, and New York State of Health runs the state exchange. If you’re interested in signing up for health insurance via the exchange, here are some key things to keep in mind.
Our tradition teaches us that human life is of infinite value and that the preservation of life supersedes almost all other considerations. We, as Jews, believe that God endowed humanity with the understanding and ability to become partners with God in making a better world. The use of our wisdom to cure illnesses has been a central theme in Jewish thought and history.
Providing health care is not just an obligation for the patient and the doctor, but for society as well. It is for this reason that Maimonides, a revered Jewish scholar, listed health care first on his list of the ten most important communal services that a city had to offer to its residents (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De’ot IV: 23). Almost all self-governing Jewish communities throughout history set up systems to ensure that all their citizens had access to health care. Doctors were required to reduce their rates for poor patients, and when that was not sufficient, communal subsidies were established (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:16; Responsa Ramat Rahel of Rabbi Eliezer Waldernberg, sections 24-25).
Update: With inclement weather plowing through the Empire State, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order aimed at ensuring health care remains available during the snow storm and recovery.
Here are the key elements of the executive order, which will provide the following for individuals unable to access medication:
- Allows patients to obtain refills of their prescriptions at any pharmacy with a shared database;
- allows practitioners to issue an early prescription;
- replaces a prescription for controlled substances that has already been filled;
- allows the transfer of prescriptions or medications between facilities if a hospital or nursing home patient must be moved in an emergency, ensuring that their medication follows them;