NU Online News Service, Aug. 23, 4:13 p.m. – The New York State Insurance Department says it will be developing a new, standardized application form for the state’s Healthy New York Program.

The Healthy New York Program, which began enrolling members in January 2001, helps small businesses and uninsured individuals buy standardized, no-frills health maintenance organization coverage at a reasonable price.

The state requires all HMOs in the state to participate in the program, but it tries to make participation as painless for the HMOs as possible by paying most of the bills for participants with annual claims costs between $30,000 and $100,000, according to an analysis by Katherine Swartz of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The New York department is now amending Regulation Number 171, the regulation that created the insurance and stop-loss programs, to give itself the authority to create a standardized application form.

If the program comes up with a standardized application, “the application process will be eased, facilitating the appropriate enrollment of eligible small employers and uninsured employed individuals,” the department says in a regulatory impact statement about the amendment.

More organizations will be able to distribute the standardized application, and that should make it easier for employers and individuals that need insurance to apply for coverage, the department says.

The department used New York’s emergency adoption process to change Regulation Number 171 and still has to go through the full adoption process to make the change permanent.

Links to the text of the regulation and other information are available on the Web at http://www.ins.state.ny.us/remgindx.htm#bm