State Health Department's Health Benefit Exchange Announces Awards of Nearly $27 Million for Consumer Education, Outreach and Support

Fifty Organizations from Across the State Selected to Answer Questions and Guide Consumers Through Health Insurance Enrollment Process

ALBANY, NY (July 12, 2013) – The New York State Department of Health today announced the names of organizations that have been awarded conditional grants to serve as In-Person Assistors (IPAs)/Navigators for the New York Health Benefit Exchange. IPAs/Navigators will provide in-person enrollment assistance to individuals, families, small businesses and their employees who apply for health insurance through the Exchange.

Grants total nearly 27 million and are contingent on completion of the prequalification process by the selected entities per the New York State (NYS) Grants Gateway system and approval by the Office of the NYS Comptroller. For a full list of conditional grantees, visit the interactive map at

"The Health Benefit Exchange, when enrollment begins October 1 of this year, will provide individuals, families and small businesses throughout New York access to affordable, high-quality health insurance options. These awards support the development of the statewide network of trained and certified IPAs/Navigators to assist New Yorkers in the application and enrollment process and to access tax credits to help offset the cost of coverage," Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said.

Conditional grants have been awarded to 50 organizations, including one Urban Indian organization; these 50 organizations will be supported by 96 subcontractors. Grantees represent a diverse group of organizations that will provide high-quality enrollment assistance in all 62 counties of the state and include more than 430 individual IPAs/Navigators who will provide services in a total of 48 languages.

Modeled on successful community assistance programs in New York, the IPA/Navigator program is designed to meet the needs of New Yorkers by providing assistance in convenient, community-based locations. IPAs/Navigators will provide culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, and disability accessible enrollment services. They will be available at convenient times, including evenings and weekends, at no cost to enrollees.

IPAs/Navigators will:

  • Provide in-person assistance to those applying for health insurance coverage at the time of initial application and at annual renewal;
  • Offer information on the types of health insurance programs available through the Exchange;
  • Provide application assistance for private and public health insurance programs and advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions;
  • Refer consumers to other organizations for help with grievances, complaints or questions regarding health coverage or a determination related to coverage; and
  • Supply information in a fair and impartial manner which is culturally and linguistically appropriate, and disability accessible, including for individuals with limited English proficiency.

As required by federal law, the IPA/Navigator program will be an ongoing feature of the Exchange. Enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 for coverage that will be effective January 1, 2014.

"We want consumers and small business owners to know that we're here to help them understand their health plan options, qualify for financial assistance, and enroll in a health plan through the Exchange, and the grant awards to these organizations will help ensure New Yorkers have the information they need," said Donna Frescatore, executive director, New York Health Benefit Exchange. "IPAs/Navigators will be trained and certified by the Exchange and will provide in-person assistance to consumers and small businesses at convenient locations in communities across the state."

It is estimated that at full enrollment nearly 1.1 million New Yorkers will obtain insurance through the Exchange, including 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees.

The New York Health Benefit Exchange is where individuals, families and small businesses will shop for, compare plans and enroll in health insurance coverage. It's the only place where New Yorkers will be able to get financial assistance to reduce the cost of coverage.

For more information about the New York Health Benefit Exchange, please visit

The New York Health Benefit Exchange will help individuals, families and small businesses shop for, compare plans and enroll in health insurance coverage. Through the Exchange, New Yorkers will compare Qualified Health Plans, Medicaid and Child Health Plus options; calculate costs; select coverage online, in person, over-the-phone or by mail; and determine what type of financial assistance may be available. Public health care programs will be available for those who are eligible. Enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 for coverage that will be effective January 1, 2014. For more information, visit