Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Community Service Society of New York

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

August 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

July 2009 – November 2010


Increases in employer-based health insurance premiums have led to declines in health insurance uptake and coverage among low-wage workers.

New York sought to address this problem by offering a hybrid public-private health insurance program. In 2007, the New York State Legislature enacted legislation that allowed employers and union benefit funds to purchase Family Health Plus (FHP) coverage for their employees. Pilot implementation of the new Family Health Plus Employer Buy-In program (FHP EBI) began in 2008. In 2009, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced its intention to expand the program statewide to all employers regardless of size, type, or revenue level, but premium rates proved to be too high for employers, thereby hindering expansion.

In 2009, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded a $210,000 grant to the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) to analyze critical design and implementation issues for FHP EBI and provide actionable recommendations to resolve program challenges and barriers.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Conducted a national review of public-private hybrid and premium assistance programs implemented in other states and in New York;
  • Partnered with Gorman Actuarial to conduct an independent actuarial analysis of premium setting, based on various insurance taxes, fees, assessments, mandated benefits, and employer groups;
  • Completed an analysis of eligibility and implementation issues, such as application and determination processes, employee coverage transitions, and consumer assistance;
  • Conducted interviews with State officials and other policy stakeholders to gather early lessons from the initial experience; and
  • Published its findings and recommendations in a report, “Expanding Affordable Coverage for Low-Waged Workers: Fixing the Family Health Plus Employer Buy-In.”

In August 2010, NYSDOH released its revised premium rate analysis, which was higher than anticipated by most stakeholders. To address this issue, NYHealth awarded CSS an additional grant to work with Gorman Actuarial to better understand the analysis and provide feedback to the State. The recommendations offered by CSS and Gorman Actuarial lowered the premium rate by nearly $100 for an individual per month in New York City.