New York Teams Up with Federal Government to Help Children Obtain Affordable Health Insurance

New "Get Covered. Get in the Game" Initiative Utilizes Sports Programs to Enroll Children in Child Health Plus or Medicaid

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 6, 2010) – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today joined officials of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and representatives of the North Albany YMCA for the launch of the "Get Covered. Get in the Game" initiative, which will enlist coaches, school officials, and community sports programs to help enroll uninsured children in public health insurance programs.

"When children have health insurance coverage, they have access to preventive screenings and the full range of medical care they need to be healthy," said Commissioner Daines. "We are pleased to partner with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and local community organizations to help uninsured children obtain affordable coverage through Child Health Plus or Medicaid. This campaign will help us get more children insured, increasing their opportunities to be successful on the playing field as well as in the classroom."

The "Get Covered. Get in the Game" initiative targets the 5 million children across the nation who lack health insurance – often preventing them from receiving important health care services. The campaign builds on state and federal outreach efforts to enroll uninsured children in Child Health Plus or Medicaid and will feature radio and TV public service announcements and outreach to high school and community sports programs to assist in the enrollment process.

"Children should not be held back from fully participating in sports or any school activity because they do not have health insurance," said Sue Kelly, Associate Regional Administrator of the Consortium for Medicaid & Children's Health at the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "When eligible kids enroll in Medicaid and Child Health Plus, they are covered for all their health care needs and that coverage lasts long after the school sports season ends."

New York State provides health insurance to approximately 2.1 million children and teens, including more than 1.7 million children who are covered by Medicaid and nearly 396,000 children enrolled in Child Health Plus. Through these public health insurance programs, children have access to important health care services such as regular checkups, doctor visits when they are sick, vaccinations, prescriptions, dental and vision care, hospital and emergency care, and more.

There are approximately 343,000 uninsured children in New York. It's estimated that 91 percent of these uninsured children are eligible for subsidized coverage through Medicaid or Child Health Plus.

New York State has one of the most inclusive public health insurance programs for children in the nation. In 2008, the State expanded its Child Health Plus program to cover children in families up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, approximately $88,000 for a family of four. Since the expansion of eligibility, an additional 130,000 children have been enrolled in Child Health Plus or Medicaid.

For more information about children's Medicaid or Child Health Plus or to sign your child up for coverage, contact the State Health Department at 1-800-698-4KIDS (4543) or http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/child_health_plus/.