All Uninsured Children Now Have Access to Health Insurance Coverage

Wildlife Conservation Society Partners with State Health Department in November 1st Enrollment Event at the New York Aquarium

Note: Commissioner Daines is available for comment on this story.

NEW YORK (Oct. 29, 2008) – Nearly 211,000 children and teens in New York City lack health insurance, restricting their access to regular preventive screenings and other health care needed to help them grow up healthy.

As a result of legislation approved by Governor David A. Paterson and the State Legislature, children up to age 19 in families with annual income up to $70,000 for a family of three ($84,000 for family of four) are now eligible to obtain free or low-cost coverage under New York's Child Health Plus insurance program.

On Saturday, November 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., New York City families can get free assistance enrolling their children in Child Health Plus at the New York Aquarium (Surf Avenue and West 8th Street, Brooklyn). Professionals will be on hand at the New York Aquarium to help parents apply for health insurance and to answer questions regarding both the Child Health Plus and Medicaid programs.

"In these challenging economic times, access to affordable health insurance for our children is even more important," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "When children are uninsured, parents frequently don't bring their children in for preventive screenings because they can't afford it. Instead, they wait until their child has a serious health problem and seek treatment at a hospital emergency room, when treatment is more difficult and more expensive."

As a result of a partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which manages the New York Aquarium, families attending the Child Health Plus enrollment event to enroll on site, begin an application, or make an appointment to apply will receive free admission to the New York Aquarium on November 1.

"This partnership demonstrates the importance of strong private/public collaboration to help New York City's children gain access to health insurance," said John Calvelli, WCS Senior Vice President for Public Affairs. "The Wildlife Conservation Society at the New York Aquarium is honored to work with Governor Paterson and the State Health Department on this important initiative."

For more information about Child Health Plus call 1-800-698-4KIDS or 1-800-698-4543 or visit the Child Health Plus website at http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/child_health_plus/.