The COVID-19 pandemic it exposed the severe inequities that exist in New York City. And after it became clear that a large part of the people who lost their lives to the coronavirus in the five boroughs were immigrants and low-income people of color, who did not have preventive access to health servicesnow more than ever it is urgent that all New Yorkers have quality health care.
That is the call that the Health authorities of the Big Apple, hand in hand with community organizations, emphasizing that regardless of whether a New Yorker is undocumented, or has no money for pay for health insuranceyou can benefit from health coverage through the NYC Care program, which began to be implemented in 2019.
This was highlighted by the network of public hospitals in the City, NYC Health + Hospitals, after announcing that the NYC Care program already reached more than 100,000 beneficiaries, 60% of them Hispanic, who have been able to access free and low-cost medical care, to which they previously did not have access.
The Ecuadorian Jorge Larawho has suffered from debilitating arthritis for more than 8 years, was introduced as the program’s 100,000th patient at a press conference held at the medical unit Gotham Health, NYC Health + Hospitals Rooseveltand the immigrant described the health plan as a blessing.
“NYC Care changes lives. In my case and in that of family and friends who previously could not have treatment for our illnesses, this insurance is a great blessing,” said the Ecuadorian. “I only pay $2 dollars and sometimes nothing, and I receive all kinds of medical attention in Spanish, for the problem I have, which for years took away the mobility of my legs.”
The immigrant, who recently applied to the NYCCareand who says that he has had significant improvements in his health, assured that before joining the program, he spent thousands of dollars trying to receive private medical care, and when he could no longer pay more, health services were suspended.
“Here one is made to feel like a person, it shows that they care about helping us with our ailments and not like in many places that see one poor or without papers and they are only interested in money, ”said the immigrant, who invited those who still do not have health protection to register . “It is a very easy process, they help you fill out all the paperwork and access to appointments and check-ups is quick. There is nothing to fear, because they do not share information with anyone.
Kenya Guevarawho has been with NYC Care for more than six months, also stated that this initiative changed her life and even the way she was perceived by health care units.
“This has been a blessing for me, because before when I wanted an appointment, they asked me for insurance or money in advance and they even treated me badly. Now I receive a friendly and pleasant treatment and thanks to that they detected a gastritis that they began to treat me, otherwise it could have turned into a more serious disease, “said the Honduran.
And about the impact NYC Care has had on the poorest communities, the President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, Mitchell Katznot only stressed that it has benefited thousands of families regardless of their immigration status and income, but also that it is the largest and most comprehensive initiative in the entire country to guarantee medical attention to vulnerable and low-income New Yorkers.
“NYC Care is one of the largest and most comprehensive initiatives to ensure health care for New Yorkers and serves as a model for the rest of the nation,” said the official, urging those interested in enrolling in the program, call 646-NYC CARE (646-692-2273). “In the short time since we launched the program, we have connected more than 100,000 people with primary, preventive and specialty care that they may never have received. This speaks to the incredible need in our community.”
And it is that according to data from the program, where community organizations such as NICE, Make the Road and 20 others have played a leading role, by helping to connect members with NYC Care, approximately 81% of current beneficiaries live in the 33 neighborhoods identified by the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, as the most affected by COVID-19.
Jonathan JimenezInterim Executive Director of NYC Care, stressed the importance of health care for all New Yorkers, saying it is a right, and called for more people to enroll in the program.
“All New Yorkers need high-quality, affordable health care. The 100,000th member milestone reflects a deep desire uninsured New Yorkers have to be healthy and a trust in NYC Health + Hospitals to help them achieve that goal,” said the doctor, whose mother was undocumented. “Our chronic disease improvement metrics show that we are already delivering. We will not rest until all New Yorkers know they have a right to health care in their city.”
Manny Castrocommissioner of New York City Hall Immigration Affairsalso joined the call and assured that now more than ever, after the impact that the COVID pandemic left on the poorest and immigrant communities, it is urgent to have access to health as part of the recovery of the City.
“I saw firsthand the impact of this program on immigrant New Yorkers who would not otherwise have access to timely, quality health care. As an immigrant, I too have experienced the challenges of accessing health care for myself and my family in my life, and I know how important the role NYC Care plays in providing primary and preventive care for immigrant communities.” said the official, whose undocumented parents and siblings have benefited from NYC Care. “Now as Commissioner, I am excited to continue working with the NYC Care team and our community organizations to lead the nation in recognizing health care as a human right.”
Precisely, part of the success of the program, according to the Commissioner, has been the association that the agencies have made with grassroots organizations, which continue to be part of a broad strategy to carry out an outreach to possible members.
What is the NYC Care health care program and how to sign up?
- NYC Care is a free or very low-cost health care access program operated through the City’s hospital network NYC Health + Hospitals for New Yorkers who cannot afford or are not eligible for health insurance for your immigration status.
- NYC Care provides a membership card for medical care and offers 24/7 customer service
- Under the NYC Care program, enrollees can receive primary care, mental health services, and sexual and reproductive health care, as well as low-cost medications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Services are offered in multiple languages, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay
- The information collected by the medical assistance program is completely private and confidential and is not shared with federal agencies.
- If you are interested in enrolling in the NYC Care program, you can call 1-646-692-2273.
- For more information about the program, you can visit www.nyccare.nyc
NYC Care Health Care Program Facts
- 100,000 New Yorkers already have access to healthcare through this free or low-cost plan
- 2019 the health program was implemented
- 30% to 50% of NYC Care users are newly connected to primary care
- 46 languages are spoken in the NYC Care program
- 60% of health plan beneficiaries speak Spanish
- 669,000 primary and specialized care appointments have been received by beneficiaries since the program began
- 76,000 virtual appointments have been made
- Gynecology, cardiology, surgery, ophthalmology and podiatry are some of the most sought after specialized areas.
- 90,000 beneficiaries have received cancer screening tests recommended by the US Prevention Task Force.
- 53% of beneficiaries with diabetes enrolled in the program for at least 6 months have seen an improvement in their hemoglobin A1C levels
- 40% of beneficiaries with hypertension, enrolled for at least 6 months, have seen an improvement in their blood pressure.
- You will be asked for personal and income information, which is not shared with immigration officials.
- You may present as proof of identity a Driver’s license or non-driver’s ID, NYC ID, passport, foreign ID, green card or work permit, naturalization certificate, visa, school ID, marriage certificate, birth certificate, EBT or CBIC
- To prove income you may present pay stubs (last 4 weeks), Letter of Employment, Pension/SSI/Unemployment Assistance Award Letter/Check, proof of address, postmarked envelope, utility bill (last 90 days), rental agreement, mortgage statement,
- insurance eligibility determination. If you have already been screened for insurance eligibility by an attendee from another organization or by yourself through the New York State of Health Marketplace, please share a copy of the determination
- NYC Health + Hospitals will also ask you to confirm that you have lived in New York City for six months or more
What is needed to apply?