Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force Continues Efforts
April 24th, 2008
SARANAC LAKE – As New York State has renewed its commitment to see that no child is left without health insurance, the Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force is ramping up efforts to educate area families on affordable health insurance options. In addition, a special session aimed at business owners has been scheduled as well.
The timing of these efforts coincide perfectly with Cover the Uninsured Week, April 27 to May 3.
Last year’s state budget expanded eligibility for Child Health Plus, New York’s version of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), to children from families with incomes up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which would provide coverage to nearly every uninsured child in the state.
Subsequently, the Bush Administration issued onerous and arbitrary requirements that blocked New York and other states from obtaining federal support for the expansion of their children’s health insurance programs.
The 2008-09 state budget adopted by the legislature earlier this month fully funds the $19 million gap left by the Federal government’s failure to support its share of the expansion. Overall, the total cost of the expansion to the state will be $25 million in 2008-09. This expanded coverage initiative squares with one of the task force’s founding goals to have no Tri-Lakes child left without insurance.
Child Health Plus provides health benefits including preventative care, hospital care and prescription drugs. There are no deductibles or co-pays under Child Health Plus.
In order to make area residents more aware of these initiatives and to facilitate eligibility screenings for those who need health insurance, the Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force has scheduled a series of events during Cover the Uninsured Week, April 27 to May 3, throughout the region.
Cover the Uninsured Week is a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest coordinated effort to promote the goal of affordable health coverage for all Americans. During this week, the task force has a number of events scheduled to reach the community and help facilitate eligibility screenings of those within the communities who need health insurance.
The events are as follows:
* Monday, April 28th from 4-7 p.m., Keene Central Schools, Cafeteria
* Tuesday, April 29th, 4-7 p.m., Tupper Lake Central Schools, LP Quinn Cafeteria
* Wednesday, April 30th, 4-7 p.m., Lake Placid Central Schools, Elementary School Cafeteria
* Thursday, May 1st, 4-7 p.m., Saranac Lake Central Schools, Petrova School Cafeteria
* Tuesday, May 6th, 4-7 p.m., Wilmington Health Center
* Thursday, May 8th, 5-7 p.m., Bloomingdale School Cafeteria
Facilitated enrollers, who will assist families in determining which insurance product is appropriate, will be at these community locations during Cover the Uninsured Week. They will work to determine if an uninsured individual is eligible for one of the many available insurance products including Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Healthy New York, Medicaid, Medicare, ValuMed Plus, and Healthy Living Partnership. Staff will also assist visitors with filling out paperwork and answering questions. For those who are unable to attend any of the screenings, please call (518) 897-2725.
The task force is also working to engage the business community. A 2005 survey measuring employer-based health insurance coverage was distributed to 780 businesses throughout Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. A response rate of approximately 29 percent was achieved with results that showed 26 percent of employers didn’t offer insurance coverage to their employees.
Results also showed that nearly 60 percent of all businesses responding to the survey wanted more information on health insurance coverage options. To meet this need, the Uninsured Task Force and Fidelis Care are hosting a luncheon for business owners during National Cover the Uninsured Week on April 25 at Charlie’s Restaurant on Main Street in Lake Placid from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. At the luncheon information will be shared to educate business owners and managers of the insurance options they may offer their employees. Officials representing the New York State Department of Health and State Department of Insurance will be speaking at the event.
To speak to a facilitated enroller, call (518) 897-2725, or e-mail insurance@amcCares.org.
To learn more about AMC’s Charity Care Policy and eligibility requirements, log onto http://www.amccares.org/, click on Insurance Enrollment under Programs & Services.
Ann Morgan, Program Coordinator for the Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force, kicks off Cover the Uninsured Week at a press conference on April 25 in Charlie’s Restaurant in Lake Placid. As part of Cover the Uninsured Week, the Task Force is hosting several eligibility screenings throughout the Tri-Lakes region from April 27 to May 3. Listening to Ann is Mary Dillon, right, with the New York State Department of Health, Child Health Plus Program. The kick off event was attended by local media, representatives of health care, insurers, chambers of commerce, large and small business owners, and the general public. Following the press conference, a Business Luncheon was held to educate business owners on the options for health insurance for their employees.
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