New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 12/27/2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STUDY FINDS THAT HEALTHY NY PROGRAM MAKES HEALTH INSURANCE MORE AFFORDABLE FOR THE WORKING UNINSURED
Harvard Study Finds that State’s Health Program Is Working

             Superintendent Gregory V. Serio applauded a recent study on Healthy NY by a professor in the Department of Public Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. The report, issued by the Commonwealth Fund, confirms that the program’s innovative design provides a new approach to reducing health insurance premiums for working uninsured of New York State.

             "When Governor Pataki signed the Health Care Reform Act of 2000 he was careful to ensure that this new legislation included health insurance coverage for the nearly 3 million people without health insurance who live in New York State. The Harvard study confirms that Healthy NY, an initiative under HCRA 2000 designed specifically for the working uninsured, is working for New Yorkers," Serio said. "This study will increase the public’s awareness of the unique benefits of Healthy NY."

             "The law requires all of the State’s HMO’s to assist in marketing the Healthy NY program to the working uninsured and we require insurers to be true to both the spirit and the letter of the law. Some companies that have embraced the spirit of the law are MVP, CDPHP, Vytra, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield who have diligently marketed the program and it shows in the high level of participation they are getting from New Yorkers," added Serio.

             With nearly 90% of all uninsured workers in New York State employed in firms that either do not offer health insurance benefits or are ineligible for their employer’s insurance coverage, Healthy NY offers New York families a vital opportunity for health care coverage. The study declares that, "policy analysts and policy makers throughout the country will undoubtedly be interested in Healthy NY’s unique approach to reducing premiums." In addition the study states that, "the initial reduction in premiums achieved by Healthy NY is greater than….anticipated."

             In addition, the study recognizes that, "in just one year, the Insurance Department of New York not only drafted all the regulations and administrative processes necessary for implementing Healthy NY, but obtained the cooperation of HMO’s to implement the program…an impressive accomplishment." Also in its synopsis of the program, the study states that "the Healthy NY approach deserves attention from policy analysts (because) it is based on the principle that high-cost health insurance claims should not be borne only by people who already have coverage." The study concludes that, "everyone in the state benefits by having more people with health insurance coverage.’

             "That is the goal behind Healthy NY – having all New Yorkers benefit by having affordable health insurance available to all of the state’s citizens," added Serio. "The Governor and the Department remain committed to ensuring that affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage is made available to all of New York’s families."

             The State launched the Healthy NY program in January 2001 to give working families access to affordable health insurance coverage. As of January 2001, Healthy NY’s comprehensive health insurance benefits package is available through all New York State HMOs and other insurers approved by the State Insurance Department.

             For further information in English and Spanish on Healthy NY visit the Web site at www.healthyny.com or call us toll-free at the Healthy NY hotline--1-866-HEALTHY NY (1-866-432-5849).


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