Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
With a nod toward Billy Joel and people from all ages, ethnicities, and settings from Montauk to Buffalo, the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday launched the “New York State of Health,” a health plan marketplace for the uninsured to buy coverage from private insurance companies.
Consumers will be able to use the marketplace to shop for health insurance on a website, through phone operators, or with live people who will be fanning out to various gathering spots around the state.
The new insurance coverage will kick in on Jan. 1, 2014, but enrollment will start in October. Between now and then, a 40-million-dollar marketing campaign will hit local airwaves, transit areas and other media venues.
The ads depict a wide array of New Yorkers driving around city streets, jumping in suburban leaf piles and smiling at their older relatives, while several different voices declare who New Yorkers are and what they need.
“We are a people who want to make our cities and towns, farms and neighborhoods, places to thrive,” a series of different narrators say. “Give us the tools, we say, and we’ll take it from there.”
New York has about 2.7 million uninsured residents. State officials estimate 1.1 million of them will get insurance through the new marketplace. Hundreds of thousands of additional uninsured people are expected to enroll in the newly expanded Medicaid system.
Under Obamacare, states can either create their own exchanges or let the federal government do so for them. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opted for the latter.
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have also launched ads, in areas where surveys suggest people are more ambivalent about the new federal program.