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Local Answers for State Health Exchange

(Source: Jason Weinstein)

If you're one of the uninsured looking to sign up for health coverage through New York's health care exchange, help is available in the form of certified navigators.

"If they're at all nervous I think they can come see a navigator. We can help them through the process. We'll help them for as long as it takes," said certified navigator Donna DiVirgilio.

The navigators are available at the following groups in Broome County: Mothers and Babies, the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center at BU, and the Young Invincibles at BU.

"There's premium subsidies available for a majority of the families that we're going to see," said DiVirgilio.

Over 100 people came to the Southern Tier Independence Center today to hear a presentation on the state's health exchange, which offers four levels of plans. The cheapest in bronze and the most expensive is platinum.

"As you can see the bronze plan has an actuarial value of 60 percent. That means that the plan pays 60% of the cost," said Kelvin Sapp of the NYS Deparrtment of Health.

All plans include a mandatory list of basic coverage.

"Preventative visits would be available to the individuals at no cost. Mental health and substance abuse, hospitalization, pediatric vision, pediatric dental," said Sapp.

Much of today's talk focused on individuals. Small businesses with fewer than 50 qualified employees don't need to offer health insurance, but the Small Business Health Options Program - or SHOP does offer choices.

"The SHOP actually brings a lot more flexibility when it comes to participation and contribution requirements. They are less restrictive with those underwriting guidelines," said insurance broker Rose DiVirgilio of DiVirgilio Benefit Resources, LLC.

****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****

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