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Press Office

June 2, 2003


New Program Changes Result in Premium Rate Reductions, Expanded Choice and Increased Eligibility; More Accessible for New York’s Recent College Graduates

Governor George E. Pataki today announced new significantly reduced premium rates for Healthy NY--lowered by an average of 17 percent. Additionally, the eligibility guidelines have been expanded so that more New Yorkers can qualify.

"This is great news for New York’s small businesses, sole proprietors and working uninsured individuals," Governor Pataki said. "On Small Business Day in Albany two months ago, I promised that Healthy NY rates would come down. Today, I am pleased to announce that rates have been reduced by an average of 17 percent, which will allow even more New Yorkers to access comprehensive health care coverage through the Healthy NY program."

"The Healthy NY Program is a practical health insurance choice, not just for small businesses and the working uninsured, but for New York’s recent college graduates as well," Governor Pataki said. "Often, when students graduate they neglect to continue their insurance coverage in the individual market. Healthy NY offers students with a viable, affordable option to obtain high quality health care coverage."

A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that nearly two of five college graduates will have no health insurance at some point during the first year after graduation. The Healthy NY program offers a viable and now even more affordable option for many students who were previously covered under a school blanket policy or their parent’s group plan.

State University of New York Chancellor Robert L. King said, "Recent SUNY graduates, who may no longer be covered under campus or parental health plans now have an affordable choice. This initiative provides the needed safety net for our graduates as they build careers and raise families. I commend Governor Pataki and Superintendent Serio for reducing premiums and for expanding choice."

Mark Alesse, New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said, "I commend Governor Pataki for his steadfast commitment and efforts to providing more affordable health insurance opportunities for New York's small business community. The improvements being made to the Healthy NY will make a great program even better, and that is welcome news to our members and to their employees."

The more affordable rates for the Healthy NY program will be available June 1 and go into effect July 1. Additional changes to the Healthy NY program that will take effect June 1 include the choice of Healthy NY with or without prescription drug benefits. Other changes to increase eligibility include:

  • Broader employment standards;
  • Simplified re-certification;
  • Exempt child support from income eligibility requirements;
  • No co-payments for well child visits;
  • Small employers can choose the level of premium contribution
  • for their part-time workers; and
  • Greater flexibility in employer contribution requirements.

"The Insurance Department is pleased to offer the Healthy NY program at more affordable rates. Not only are the premiums on average 17% lower, but New Yorkers will have additional personal choice when it comes to what they want in their particular benefits package that could result in 12% off that rate," said State Insurance Superintendent Gregory V. Serio. "This is yet another indication of Governor Pataki’s continued commitment to making comprehensive health insurance available to all New Yorkers."

The Healthy NY program was established as a part of the landmark Heath Care Reform Act of 2000. Beginning in January 2001, Healthy NY created a new state-sponsored health insurance program for eligible small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, sole proprietors and eligible working uninsured individuals. The benefits are available through all of the state’s HMOs.

The new rates are available by HMO at

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