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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:30 am

NY Health Benefit Exchange signup begins on Oct. 1

New Yorkers may begin enrolling in the new state Health Benefit Exchange established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act beginning Oct. 1.

“Uninsured? Don’t have health insurance?” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) asks in a flier promoting the program. “Enroll in Obamacare to get the coverage you need!”

All plans offered through the exchange will provide a comprehensive set of benefits, including preventive coverage, which will kick in Jan. 1. Participants will be able to choose from a variety of plans. Those who earn less than $45,960 a year, or $94,200 for a family of four, may qualify for financial assistance.

No one will be denied insurance due to having a pre-existing condition.

People can get help enrolling in person, online or by phone. They will also learn if they qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For more information on the program, visit healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov or call Meeks’ office at (718) 725-6000.

State seeking enviro cops, forest rangers

New York State will hold exams for individuals who are interested in becoming an environmental conservation police officer or forest ranger, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced last week.

The deadline to apply to take the tests is Oct. 2. The civil service exams themselves will be held on Nov. 16.

There are separate exams and different qualifications for becoming an ECO or forest ranger. Potential applicants should closely review qualifications required for each position to determine which exam they are eligible to take. Those who want to apply for both positions, and meet the required qualifications, must submit separate applications and will be required to take both examinations.

A full summary of qualifications, salary, and application procedures can be found atwww.cs.ny.gov/examannouncements/types/oc/. More information on the jobs themselves is available at dec.ny.gov/regulations/41086.html and nycoa.org.

City offering free web cables to some biz

The New York City Economic Development Corporation is helping connect small and medium-sized businesses to high-speed internet by providing free fiber optic construction to qualifying companies.

Growing businesses that depend on secure and reliable high-speed internet as part of their daily business operations can learn how they can take advantage of this opportunity at a meeting the EDC is holding at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 25 in Long Island City. The meeting will be held on the ninth floor of 27-01 Queens Plaza North. Continental breakfast will be served.

Participants should RSVP to Deb Mesloh via email at dmesloh@licpartnership.org or by calling (718) 786-5300, ext. 32.

New enrollment rules for STAR tax reductions

The state Tax Department recently unveiled what it bills as “an easy, fast and secure” online STAR registration platform for homeowners currently receiving the Basic School Tax Relief property tax exemption. The system is designed to save taxpayers millions by eliminating inappropriate STAR tax exemptions.

The new registration does not apply to seniors receiving Enhanced STAR tax breaks, who must continue to register annually.

The Tax Department is mailing letters to all 2.6 million Basic STAR recipients, with registration instructions for the online application. Anyone with questions on registration should call (518) 457-2036.

The letters are set to go out to Queens residents Sept. 23 through 27. The deadline for completing the registration is Dec. 31.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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