Governor David A. Paterson today announced New York will participate in the federal Temporary High Risk Pool funding made available to states through federal health care reform by developing a program to provide health insurance coverage to eligible uninsured individuals who have pre-existing health conditions. The program will begin this year and will last until more comprehensive coverage options become available through a Health Insurance Exchange in 2014.
“One of the immediate benefits of federal health reform is this program to provide help to people with health problems and no health insurance,” Governor Paterson said. “We welcome this opportunity to help some of our most vulnerable uninsured New Yorkers and we will work with the federal government to implement this program as quickly as possible.”
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act will make $5 billion in federal funding available to the 50 states over the next three and one half years. New York State is eligible for a total potential allocation of $297 million for this period. States have the option of designing their own programs or leaving implementation of a program to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Insurance Superintendent James J. Wrynn said: “It is important for New York to design its own program because of the unique characteristic of our community rated, guaranteed issue insurance marketplace, which provides New Yorkers with access to health insurance without regard to their age, sex, health status or occupation. At Governor Paterson’s direction, we will ensure that the new program includes our important and hard fought consumer protections.”
At Governor Paterson’s direction, the State Insurance Department has notified HHS of New York’s intention to participate in this important federal initiative, conveying its desire to start the program as soon as possible – as early as in the summer of 2010. New York officials are actively assessing possible options for the structure of the program in order to make immediate progress as the State awaits further guidance from the federal government regarding implementation rules. Next steps for the State include additional discussions with HHS and stakeholders, developing and submitting a proposal, contracting with HHS, possible State legislation and implementation.