New American Red Cross Program Responds to Health Insurance Needs Of Up To 3,000 Households Affected by September 11

Program Begins as COBRA Coverage Comes To A Close For Many Seriously Injured




NEW YORK, April 16, 2003— Responding to the needs of thousands of families, some of whom may lose their health coverage, the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program announced today it will pay health insurance premiums for those who lost immediate family members and those who were seriously physically injured as a result of the September 11 attacks.

The new American Red Cross Health Insurance Subsidy Program funds out-of-pocket health insurance premiums for one year.

“This is a particularly critical time since, for many of the seriously injured, the first 18 months of continuation coverage through COBRA ends this month,” said Alan Goodman, Administrator of the September 11 Recovery Program. “This initiative enables us to help those who need it right now as well as those who may need assistance with health insurance between now and 2004.”

The program benefits those who received or who were eligible to receive coverage from their original employer through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) as well as those who were never extended health insurance from their original employer. Individuals who have received payments from employers to cover these costs are not eligible to receive this subsidy.

As part of the Health Insurance Subsidy Program, Working Today is receiving funding to make payments directly to clients' insurance companies. Based in Brooklyn, Working Today is a non-profit service and advocacy organization, which offers "portable" benefits to individuals irrespective of location, provider or employment status. This initiative is Working Today’s third project providing health insurance to those affected by the September 11 attacks. To learn more about Working Today visit the website:

The Red Cross worked closely with The September 11th Fund to plan and support this initiative. It is modeled after the Fund’s subsidy program for the economically impacted.

As part of its ongoing assistance to help meet the long-term recovery needs of those affected, the Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program is helping thousands of individuals and families access a wide range of services. Red Cross provides personal, one-on-one assistance to clients, offering support and guidance.

Individuals can access Red Cross benefits such as mental health and health care services, financial assistance as well as air purifiers and HEPA vacuums for downtown residents. Red Cross is assisting downtown residents whose homes are being cleaned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Services provided include relocation, storage, and replacement of damaged home furnishings. Those with unmet needs will continue to receive support for the duration of the Red Cross recovery effort as they work to transition back to self-sufficiency.

Developed with input from those directly affected by the tragedy and other service agencies, the September 11 Recovery Program operates within the objectives of the Liberty Disaster Relief Fund Distribution Plan, the Red Cross fund dedicated to helping those directly affected by the September 11 tragedies. Full details of the Liberty Disaster Relief Fund Distribution Plan, previous quarterly reports and expenditure breakdowns, are available on the Red Cross website at For more information about American Red Cross Health Insurance Subsidy Program or support related to the September 11 attacks contact the Red Cross at (877) 746-4987 or visit the web site. To access the Mental Health Program, call 1-800-LIFE NET.

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