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New Yorkers Get Online Relief for Health Care Coverage

January 3, 2008

Albany, NY - The New Year may not guarantee that anyone will be wealthier and wiser, but New Yorkers could get healthier, thanks to a new online service to match their health needs with available programs. The site is designed as a one-stop location that's easier to navigate than the usual official and private provider websites.

Richard Kirsch is with the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, which has set up the new service.

"We wanted to have a one-stop place on the web where people could go if they're looking to find affordable health coverage that's offered by New York state, and also for private insurance. And generally just making it easier for people to get one place to find out how to deal with problems."

Kirsch says the site is not intended to replace official or commercial websites, but to consolidate a complex array of New York services for as many as 1.5 million New Yorkers who may be unaware of their health care eligibility.

"A lot of times it's hard because there's so many different programs -- you go to the health department, you go to the insurance department, you try to find this private insurance company. We link to those; we do so in a way that's easily organized, and easy to find."

The website provides easy navigation for those needing health services, or inquiring about consumer rights and complaint procedures. But Kirsch says a website won't solve all of New York's health system problems.

"A lot of people may find they can't find anything on the website that's affordable. And that's because we need to really change the system to provide quality and affordable health care for all. That'll take major reforms, and we're looking for Governor Spitzer to take leadership this year in health care that's affordable for all New Yorkers."

Governor Eliot Spitzer's state of the state address and budget proposals are due later this month.

The Public Policy and Education Fund is at www.citizenactionny.org/about/ppef_index.html.

The health information website is www.nyconsumerhealth.org.

Robert Knight/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NY