Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Making it Easy: Planning a Rural Strategy to Increase Enrollment in Healthy NY

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

September 24, 2008


Central NY

Finger Lakes






The S2AY Rural Health Network (which comprises the Public Health Departments in Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Allegany, Yates, Ontario, and Wayne Counties), together with the Genesee Valley Health Partnership in Livingston County, Excellus, Preferred Care, and the Chambers of Commerce, formed a partnership to undertake, “Making it Easy: A Rural Plan to Increase Enrollment in Healthy NY.”

The goal was to inform rural small business owners about the options available to them, particularly the publicly subsidized option, Healthy NY, and ultimately identify specific ways to boost health insurance enrollment.

This grant was one of five organizations that received a planning grant from the 2008 NYHealth request for proposals (RFP), “Expanding Coverage Options in the Small Group and Individual Market in New York State.” The RFP grew directly out of the Foundation’s desire to generate ideas for expanding health insurance options for small businesses and sole proprietors.

Read an NYHealth special report that contains a summary of findings from this RFP.

The S2AY Rural Health Network (the Network) operates a highly successful facilitated enrollment program that assists approximately 7,000 people per year with applications for Medicaid, Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus, and other rural community outreach programs.

The Network will explore ways to increase Healthy NY enrollment among small businesses in its seven-county area. Healthy NY is a unique program that assists small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to offer more affordable health insurance coverage to their employees, dependents, and other qualified individuals. The program creates standardized benefit packages that are offered by all health maintenance organizations in New York State. This project will assess modifications to the designs of Healthy NY and estimate how much further Healthy NY benefit design enrollment could increase. Working with its local partners, the Network will also determine the dollar amounts and structures of an upfront subsidy. Based on that enhanced subsidy, the project will assess potential demand within the Network’s region for Healthy NY and develop strategies for increasing enrollment, such as using facilitated enrollers. The Network will also develop an online coverage guide that will centralize information on all health coverage and direct users of the guide to facilitated enrollers, Healthy NY, and commercial insurers.