Commissioner Novello Leads Child Health Plus Enrollment Day

Governor Pataki's Commitment to Child Health Plus Makes it Nation's Best Program

Albany, February 23, 2000 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., today, at Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center in Albany, encouraged Capital Region parents to enroll their children in the nation's best children's health insurance program, Child Health Plus. The Child Health Plus program is on a record–setting pace with more than 435,000 children now enrolled.

Dr. Novello said, "Quality health care is one of the most precious gifts we can give our children. Governor Pataki has directed us to enroll every eligible uninsured youngster in Child Health Plus so that they can get a healthy start in life. The Governor and I want every working parent in this State to know that if they cannot afford health insurance, Child Health Plus is there to insure that their child's health care needs will be met at a minimal cost or no cost at all."

The Child Health Plus program has been very successful in Albany County with enrollment topping 4,192 as of January 31, 2000. In addition, enrollment in the 12–county Capital Region is nearly 25,000 and continues to grow every month.

"The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center has been impressive in promoting health care to the diverse multi cultural, and geographic communities they serve. I am honored to be here today and proud of the fact that this health center has actively developed avenues and dedicated themselves to finding children in the Capital Region who are eligible for Child Health Plus. In fact, irrespective of their cultural, geographic or economic background they are offering access to a comprehensive health care package under the program's protective umbrella of coverage. That for me is good public health, for the public good," Dr. Novello said.

President and Chief Operating Officer of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center, Paul T. Copp, said, "Whitney Young Health Center recognizes the viability of affordable health insurance for children and teens so that they can receive timely medical care and medications. We are committed to reaching families in every venue of the communities we serve to let them know that New York State's Child Health Plus program is there for their children and that we are committed to providing them with the health care they need and deserve."

Through an intensive mass media marketing and an outreach campaign and newly awarded facilitated enrollment grants initiated by Governor Pataki, monthly enrollment in Child Health Plus has increased nearly tenfold in four years. Current monthly enrollment is more than 10,000 per month statewide, up from 1,200 children per month in 1996.

The Child Health Plus program provides benefits to families with children under the age of 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid. The insurance program covers a vast array of services including physician visits, hospitalization, immunizations, dental and vision, x–rays, lab tests, outpatient surgery, emergency care, prescription drugs, physical and occupational therapy, and outpatient treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

Program premiums are based on family income and are free for a family of four making less than $26,254. Families whose incomes are less than $37,901 are eligible for premium subsidies. The Child Health Plus program offers assistance and information through a toll–free hotline, 1–800–698–4KIDS.

2/23/00–22 OPA