Governor Extends Enrollment Deadline During COVID-19 Pandemic to August 15

Certified NLS Healthcare Navigators provide free confidential phone consultation

Western New Yorkers who have lost or are about to lose their employer-provided health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic can explore options and select new health insurance through Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS). Trained and certified NLS healthcare navigators can help individuals figure out the best solution, depending on their situation.

Governor Cuomo announced that the Special Enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers will now extend through August 15, 2020.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires that health coverage be provided by their group health plan but that might not be the best option. There are alternatives that may provide the same or better coverage at a lower cost. However, the regulatory system is complex. NLS healthcare navigators provide free and unbiased guidance through the New York State of Health Marketplace. This includes help with filling out the forms for eligibility and enrollment.

“Some people who provide help like this have a vested interest with a consumer choosing one plan or provider over another; we don’t,” says Penny Selmonsky, Deputy Director, Supervising Attorney, Health & Economic Security Unit. “The only goal for NLS navigators is to help people understand their options and help them get insurance that is best for them.”

While NLS usually serves the low-income community, during the national emergency no person seeking help will be turned away. Because of social distancing restrictions, all evaluations will happen over the telephone and take about 20 minutes.

For more information, those interested can contact Neighborhood Legal Services toll-free at 1-888-869-6576 or

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