BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/BIZ FIRST) -- The state has created a new online tool to help New Yorkers understand the federal health care law passed earlier this year.
The tools, found at http://www.healthcarereform.ny.gov, include descriptions of the law, how it benefits New Yorkers and how residents cab receive health insurance coverage. It also provides information on programs that already exist in the state.
Visitors to the site will also see a timeline that outlines when certain provisions in the health care law go into effect.
President Barack Obama signed the $940 billion health care legislation into law on March 23.
The legislation will enable an estimated 32 million Americans to obtain health insurance by expanding eligibility for Medicaid, as well as provide subsidies for low- and moderate-income individuals to buy private insurance.
Individuals and small businesses could purchase insurance through new state-based exchanges, which would offer plans that meet minimum federal standards. Some small businesses with low-wage workers would be eligible for temporary tax credits to help them pay for insurance.
Individuals would be required to obtain insurance, and businesses that employ more than 50 workers would have to provide coverage or pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker if any of their employees receives government-subsidized coverage on their own.
The legislation also imposes a tax on high-cost insurance plans beginning in 2018.
Gov. David Paterson said at the time that the reform will offer the 2.5 million uninsured New Yorkers "real health care options." Today, he called the health care law "the most influential and beneficial change to the American health care system since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid."