More New Yorkers could qualify for health coverage under the Essential Plan as health officials request federal approval to expand eligibility. 

The push comes as pandemic-era eligibility for Medicaid is sunsetting, part of an effort at "smoothing" a dropoff in the number of people who have coverage. 

The state Department of Health this week made the request through the federal waiver process. If approved, New Yorkers with incomes between 200% and 250% of the federal poverty level would qualify for coverage under the public health insurance program that's offered through the state's health marketplace. 

Currently, eligibility for the Essential Plan is capped at incomes 200% of the poverty rate. 

“During the Public Health Emergency, federal regulations allowed the state to expand access and lower the cost of health insurance,” Acting State Health Commissioner James McDonald said. “As the PHE ends, we are working tirelessly to maintain coverage options that protect all New Yorkers. This waiver helps uninsured, lower- and moderate-income consumers by ensuring quality health insurance remains in reach for everyone who needs it.” 

If federal officials approve the expansion, almost 100,000 people in New York could be able to access Essential Plan coverage.