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Press Office

July 8, 2004


Healthy NY Program Will Provide Coverage, Reduce Staff Turnover in Child Care Programs

Governor George E. Pataki today announced $2 million in new funding to help child care providers offer health insurance to their employees. This initiative will help child care providers across the State recruit and retain quality staff by offering participation in New York State’s Healthy NY program.

"We are proud of our commitment to providing quality health care for New Yorkers and offering quality, safe, affordable child care for our working families," Governor Pataki said. "This new initiative will allow child care providers to better recruit and retain qualified employees by offering an option for comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. This new initiative will build on our successful and nationally acclaimed programs such as Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Healthy NY."

The initiative will build on the successful Healthy NY insurance program by paying a portion of both the employer and employee share of the insurance benefit to participating health insurance carriers selected by employers. The initiative will offer $50 per month per individual and $100 per month for two-adult or family premiums. It is estimated that approximately 2,100 employees in the child care industry will participate.

Among the benefits that promote stability of employment in small businesses is the availability of health insurance for employees. A recent survey of regulated child care providers in New York State found that child care programs are not always financially able to provide health insurance as a benefit to their employees and families.

This program will be available statewide through participating HMOs including Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plan, Inc., Univera Healthcare, MVP Health Plan, Inc., Capital District Physician's Health Plan, Inc. (CDPHP), and HIP Health Plan of New York, Inc.

Paul Macielak, President of the New York Health Plan Association said, "New York continues seeking out innovative ways to address the problem of the uninsured. Expanding the availability of Healthy NY benefits to more New Yorkers who currently have no health care coverage helps to reduce the ranks of the uninsured."

OCFS Commissioner John A. Johnson said, "Governor Pataki recognizes the ongoing need to invest in our child care providers. His vision has allowed us to be better equipped to recruit and retain the child care workers that are so vital to providing quality child care services statewide. New York State has once again stepped to the forefront of the nation in providing high-quality child care to working families."

State Insurance Superintendent Gregory V. Serio said, "The Governor has made it a priority to provide quality health insurance to all New Yorkers. Healthy NY is an important insurance option for New York's businesses and working individuals. Healthy NY has been an affordable health insurance coverage option for over 86,000 New Yorkers and, with this new funding assistance, Healthy NY will be even more affordable for childcare providers who will now be able to offer this quality health insurance option to their employees, helping to ensure a healthy and productive workforce."

To be eligible for this program, child care providers must:

  • Be regulated by New York State with no current enforcement actions pending;
  • Not currently offer health insurance or contribute less than $50 monthly per employee;
  • Not offer comprehensive coverage;
  • Have at least 30% of their employees with salaries below $32,000;
  • Have 50 or fewer employees.

Healthy NY was established when Governor Pataki signed into law the Health Care Reform Act of 2000, to promote and expand access to quality health care by providing comprehensive health insurance to working individuals. Earlier this year, Governor Pataki announced major improvements to the program to make it even more accessible and affordable to small employers and working families, significantly reducing rates and expanding eligibility guidelines so that more New Yorkers can access this important health insurance choice.

Since 1995, Governor Pataki has increased funding for child care by a record $650 million, from $279 million in State fiscal year 1995-96 to $929 million in the 2004-05 Executive budget. This funding has helped support growth in the number of child care subsidies from 72,000 to approximately 186,900.

The Quality Child Care and Protection Act significantly improved the quality of child care by requiring criminal background checks and training requirements for all child care providers. The act also increased oversight of child care centers and strengthened enforcement actions against providers who fail to comply with health and safety regulations.

It is anticipated that enrollment materials for this valuable program will be available in the near future. For further information on Healthy NY visit the website at or call toll-free at the Healthy NY hotline--1-866-HEALTHY NY (1-866-432-5849). For further information on this particular program, call 1-800-342-3736 or (518) 474-9615.

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