Boots on the ground for children’s health!

boots on the ground

As of August, 2014, more than 350,000 children had enrolled in coverage through the NY State of Health Marketplace. What better way to celebrate these gains in coverage than to close the final coverage gaps?

HCFANY’s Children, Youth and Families Task Force aims to secure quality, affordable coverage for all children in New York. The Task Force will hold its fall meeting for November 6 in Albany. Task force members and supporters are invited to attend, including child advocates, outreach professionals, enrollment assisters, and others working to improve children’s health. You can register here to attend.

In addition to closing coverage gaps, the Children, Youth and Families Task Force has also set its sights on ensuring the federal government maintains the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is called Child Health Plus in New York. As we’ve posted about here and here, CHIP program funding is set to expire September 2015 unless Congress extends it. The Task Force recently alerted its members of a sign-on letter from First Focus and other leading stakeholders urging Congress to enact a four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before the end of the year. It promises to be a hot topic at the fall meeting, as well.

Another highlight at the fall meeting is a planned presentation by Jason Helgerson, New York’s Medicaid Director. Mr. Helgerson will brief attendees about the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, otherwise knows as the “DSRIP,” and what this means for children’s coverage and access. As we get closer to our goal of universal coverage for kids, there is also work to do to ensure children have access to the services they need.

Sound like a great way to spend an afternoon? Register for the fall meeting today.

Outreach Worker Engracia Jamieson and Volunteer Jan Kenyon at Great Day in Harlem  (above) and   RWV-NY Community Organizer Liza Lederer (right) at Brooklyn Pride

This coming Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and it’s been a busy one for health coverage advocates and volunteers! Here’s an update from the field from the Get Covered NY Campaign, a grassroots effort to raise awareness about the new insurance options available through NY State of Health, and help NYC residents get covered. Get Covered NY is a project of Health Care For All New York, Greater NYC for Change, and Raising Women’s Voices – NY.

Guest Post by Aliza Lederer-Plaskett, Community Organizer for Raising Women’s Voices-NY

Raising Women’s Voices and our partners in the Get Covered NY initiative are wrapping up a busy summer of outreach to uninsured New Yorkers. We have tabled and leafleted at a wide variety of events in low-income communities in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as Westchester and Rockland counties.

We’ve been to the Hunts Point Summer Fish Festival in the Bronx. We’ve reached out to LGBT people by tabling at Pride Festivals in Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Rockland County and lower Manhattan. We’ve been to book fairs, Harlem Week and back-to-school events where we can reach families with children who may be eligible for Child Health Plus. In Westchester and Rockland Counties, we have done outreach at cultural festivals and presentations on the Affordable Care Act and NY State of Health for members and staff of local nonprofit organizations.

Our dedicated and trained Get Covered New York volunteers have been taking clipboards and handouts around the events, interacting with attendees and taking down the names of people who would like to be contacted by a Navigator to begin the application process. Through this hands-on approach, we have collected more than 900 names of uninsured and underinsured individuals throughout July and August.

As we speak with uninsured people in the field and collect their information, we have noted who has experienced a major life change – which may qualify them for a special open enrollment period. We also flag people who we think might qualify for Medicaid, for which there is year-round enrollment. We then forward their contact information directly to a Navigator at the Community Service Society.  Other uninsured individuals are entered into the Get Covered NY database, to be called by volunteers at phone banks that will start up again as the November 15 start of the next open enrollment period draws closer.

We have begun to pack our September and October schedule chock full of community events to ensure that we can reach as many people as possible prior to the start of the new enrollment period.  Got an event you’d like to see us at?  Interested in becoming a volunteer? Please contact Liza Lederer at and we’ll get you set up to help get New York covered!

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Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of House and Senate committee leaders sent a letter to Governors of all 50 states to get their take on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides low-cost, tailored health insurance to children through state-run programs. (New York’s program is called Child Health Plus). Federal funding for CHIP will expire at the end of September, 2015, unless Congress extends it.

With that in mind, this bipartisan letter seeks Governors’ insights about how the CHIP program is working in their states, whether the funding should be extended, and what policy changes should be made to the program. The letter was signed by Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), as well as House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA). Governors’ are asked to respond by October 31, 2014.

You can read the full letter here.

Learn more about CHIP and 2015 funding reauthorization on our blog.


girls_doctor_officeThe Alliance for Health Reform and Kaiser Family Foundation held a briefing on Monday about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides quality health coverage for over 8 million kids – including nearly 500,000 in New York under Child Health Plus.

The Program was extended in the ACA through 2019, but unfortunately funding for the program expires next September without congressional action. This would be bad news for kids - many could lose coverage (some due to the “family glitch“) or pay more for comprehensive coverage. Not to mention it would cut short a program that has been enormously successful in reducing the child uninsurance rate, which fell by half since the program began in 1997.

A summary of the briefing and all materials are available on the Alliance for Health Reform website, including background materials, videos, and speaker presentations. Speakers included Joan Alker, executive director at Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, Robin Rudowitz, associate director for Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Robert Stewart, analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, and Cathy Caldwell, director of the Bureau of Children’s Health Insurance in the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Check it out!