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$2M FOR HEALTH INSURANCE FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS

Governor George E. Pataki recently announce $2M 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.

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 childcare industry will participate..

Among the benefits that promote stability of employment in small businesses is the availability of health insurance for employees. Recent survey of regulated childcare 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 HMO's including Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plan, Inc., Capital District Physician's Health Plan, Univera Healthcare, MVP Health Plan, Capital District Physician's Health Plan - (CDHP), and HIP Health Plan of New York.

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 care 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 record $650M, from 279M in State fiscal year 1995-96 to $929M 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 childcare 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 www.healthny.com 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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