There’s still time to sign up for health insurance through NY State of Health during the state’s special enrollment period, according to local hospitals.

In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the state Department of Health last week announced that uninsured New Yorkers can sign up for insurance through April 15, with coverage beginning April 1.

People can apply online at or by phone at 855-355-5777. Enrollment assistants are also available. According to data from 2017, the most recent year data was available, there were 7,549 uninsured people in the Daily Star’s four-county coverage area younger than 65.

Being insured is a way to avoid paying huge out-of-pocket COVID-19 treatment costs if required. As reported by CNBC, a recent analysis by FAIR Health showed that those hospitalized could pay between $42,486 and $74,310 for COVID-19 treatment if they’re uninsured or if they receive an out-of-network service.

Bassett Healthcare Network and United Health Services have services available to help people get insurance. Bassett Healthcare Network takes patients regardless of their ability to pay, Public and Media Relations Director Karen Huxtable-Hooker said in a March 31 email to The Daily Star. According to a 2018 audit of Bassett Medical Center, it provided $5,218,378 in charity care services, or health care provided for free or reduced prices to low-income patients.

Community health navigators are available to assist people who want to sign up for coverage, she said. According to the network’s navigation services website, they can also link patients to community resource for finding affordable housing, food, clothing and transportation; advocate on the patient’s behalf to ensure optimal care; and coordinate care through communication with other providers. People can call 607-547-4887 to find out if they qualify or fill out a referral form online at

For UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital, call 607-337-4512 for financial assistance and for UHS Delaware Valley, call 607-865-2445. The people answering those lines are certified application counselors who can assist patients with enrolling in health insurance plans, UHS Administrator of Public Relations Jon Tooley said in a March 31 email to The Daily Star. According to UHS’s 2018 financial profile, the entire system provided $37 million in uncompensated and charity care.

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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