Healthy NY Pilot Project

Too many people in upstate New York go without health insurance, especially those employed by small businesses in poor rural areas such as ours. The S2AY Rural Health Network, together with the Genesee Valley Health Partnership, Excellus, Preferred Care and the Chambers of Commerce have formed a partnership to undertake "Making it Easy: A Rural Plan to Increase Health Insurance Enrollment."

The Network has received a planning grant from the New York State Health Foundation which, in cooperation with the NYS Insurance Department, will study the best ways to entice small business owners to offer the Healthy NY insurance product to their employees.

We began this project in October and will have accomplished the following over the grant year:

  • Tested the size and structure of a premium subsidy in focus groups of small businesses to learn how best to encourage small businesses of various sizes under 50 employees to offer health insurance in our rural area that stretches from the Pennsylvania to the Canadian border in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Tested enrollment projections and developed a business plan to demonstrate how enrollment in Healthy NY can be increased, estimating how many more employees can be covered at each of several various levels of cost.
  • Finalized an online regional Health Insurance Coverage Guide, have the product online and available to 211 operators.
  • Worked closely with the New York State Insurance Department to continue to tap their expertise, suggestions and support.
  • Developed a Glossary of Terms

To date much research into other state programs has been done to determine what has worked and what hasnít. Business contacts have been made and focus groups are in progress. The Network looks forward to this opportunity to help develop a viable product for the small businesses across our region.