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Westchester Health-care Experts Update Progress On State's Exchanges

Several state healthcare experts met recently at a forum held by the Business Council of Westchester to provide an update on New York's Health Benefit Exchange program.
Several state healthcare experts met recently at a forum held by the Business Council of Westchester to provide an update on New York's Health Benefit Exchange program. Photo Credit: Courtesy The Business Council of Westchester

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester health-care experts say the new online New York State Health Benefit Exchange marketplace is doing better than expected, according to a news release.

A panel from the Business Council of Westchester (BCW) recently met at a special forum on Oct. 10 at the Crowne Plaza, according to the release. More than 80 members and guests attended the standing-room-only forum featuring "a stellar panel of experts," according to the release.

More than 40,000 residents have registered online in the first week alone, said Kelly Smith, director of Small Business Marketplace of the State Department of Health, in the release. Smith added that "they thought the state’s website would get about 3,000 hits per day on the site, but in reality were receiving 3,000 hits per second," according to the release. About 5,000 insurance brokers completed training to be certified by the state for the exchange, Smith said in the release.

John Ravitz, executive vice president of the Business Council, called the first week of the new exchange “an incredible ride,” according to the release. Ravitz noted the BCW's Navigator received more 75 phone calls for appointments recently, according to the release. To schedule an appointment with the Business Council's Navigator, call Ravitz at 914-948-2110, ext 311.

Keynote speaker Shannon Pettypiece, national healthcare reporter for Bloomberg News, "provided an overview of how New York and other states that are implementing their own health benefit exchanges are faring compared to those states that are letting the federal government set up their exchanges," according to the release. Pettypiece said that overall the states "have done a better job of getting their websites up and running than the federal government," according to the release.

“The implementation of the new Health Benefit Exchange is one of the most important issues facing businesses today," said Marsha Gordon, president and chief executive officer of the Business Council, according to the release. "This very timely and important forum featured an outstanding panel of experts who provided the information every business needs to know about the new law.”

Other panelists at the forum included Elisabeth Benjamin, senior vice president of the Community Service Society of New York; and Mike Bodack, president of York International Agency, according to the release.

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