Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Brooklyn HealthWorks

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

November 15, 2007








To provide more affordable health insurance options for small businesses, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the New York State Department of Insurance and Group Health Incorporated (GHI), launched Brooklyn HealthWorks in 2004, a private-label version of GHI’s Healthy NY Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) product offered to small businesses and their employees who work in Brooklyn.

To increase enrollment in Brooklyn HealthWorks, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce marketed this lower-cost health insurance product to small businesses and brokers in Brooklyn with branded marketing tools, direct mailings, and media ads. Between January 2008 and May 2009, 1,250 employees and dependents at 293 small businesses enrolled in Brooklyn HealthWorks.

The Brooklyn Alliance will create marketing materials to help meet its enrollment goals for Brooklyn HealthWorks.

Brooklyn’s economy is driven by small businesses, with 90% of workers employed at places of business with fewer than 20 employees. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than 137,000 employees of Brooklyn’s small businesses and their dependents are without health insurance, largely because their employers can’t afford it. Over the last decade, small business members of Brooklyn’s Chamber of Commerce have become increasingly disgruntled about the rising cost of health insurance—a key driver for the creation of Brooklyn HealthWorks (BHWx). BHWx includes two private-label, locally tailored Healthy NY products with premiums further reduced by subsidies.

Based on a successful eight-month field test of BHWx, the Chamber of Commerce was able to secure stable continuous State funding for BHWx’s operating expenses and subsidies, and an upstate demonstration based on the model is set to begin enrollment soon. With NYHealth support, the Brooklyn Alliance will create marketing materials that will help it meet its enrollment goal of 125 new “covered lives” each month. These materials—including marketing brochures, provider directories, plan fact sheets, and enrollment applications—will help the product “look and feel” like other insurance offerings to both small businesses and their brokers. Helping to legitimize the brand through these materials could result in a sizeable number of small employers’ and their employees taking up coverage that was once out of reach.