Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

The Long Island Health Care Coalition

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

November 15, 2007


Long Island






Long Islanders feel the impact of uninsurance as strongly as other communities across New York State. To address this issue, the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island attempted to standardize interpretations of eligibility rules and procedures used by various Long Island enrollment agencies to reduce health insurance applications processing delays and unnecessary rejected applications.

The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island will convene the Long Island Health Care Coalition to address enrollment and retention in public insurance.

The majority of the more than 300,000 uninsured Long Islanders are currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, public health insurance. Many fail to enroll or re-enroll because of the complex and burdensome process. Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties have performed well below the State average of turnaround times for public health applications, forcing uninsured families to wait three times the federally regulated average for eligibility determinations.

To help facilitate process improvements across these counties, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island will convene The Long Island Health Care Coalition. This bi-county workgroup, which comprises the Nassau and Suffolk County Departments of Social Services, facilitated enrollment lead agencies, managed care, and community-based organizations, will work to improve enrollment and retention in public insurance, with a focus on improving turnaround times and reducing error rates. The group will create a single set of simplified, streamlined, and consistent enrollment and re-enrollment processes and materials. These materials will include clear instructions, comprehensible client correspondence in various languages (including Spanish, French, Creole, Korean, Hindi, Polish, and modified English), frequently asked questions, and folders for clients to file and save documents they need to re-certify for health insurance. A Web site available to all Coalition organizations will house materials developed by the work group for easy downloading and printing, and a site list serve will allow partners to easily share program and policy updates. Working together, the partners will also conduct an outreach blitz targeted to the largest pockets of uninsured residents within the counties. These activities can improve timeliness, reduce errors, and boost public health insurance coverage rates by 25%.