An epidemiologist answers the biggest questions she’s getting about coronavirus.


New York is offering a special enrollment period for New Yorkers to enroll in health insurance coverage through the state’s health marketplace or directly through insurers, in light of the public health emergency around coronavirus. 

This step was taken to help minimize residents’ fear around costs for coronavirus testing and medical care, according to a state release.  

Individuals can enroll in plans until April 15.

The previous enrollment period ended on Feb. 7. People who enroll between March 16 and April 15 will have coverage starting on April 1. 

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Individuals eligible for other New York State of Health programs like Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus can enroll year-round.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed health insurers to waive cost sharing for coronavirus testing earlier this month.

Consumers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at, by phone at 855-355-5777, or by working with an enrollment assistor

“With a pandemic spreading through the U.S., it’s important to ensure that healthcare is available to everyone who needs it,” said Donna Frescatore, Executive Director of NY State of Health, the state’s health marketplace.

“This special enrollment period will provide New Yorkers with another opportunity to sign up for high-quality, affordable health insurance.”

For updates from New York’s Department of Health on public health information and guidance, go to 

The department has implemented a novel coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

Sarah Taddeo is the consumer watchdog reporter for USA Today Network’s New York State Team. She investigates stories about your consumer rights, including scams, negligent landlords, safety issues and wayward businesses.

Got a story tip or comment? Contact Sarah at or (585) 258-2774. Follow her on Twitter @Sjtaddeo. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription.

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