First Lady Chirlane McCray, Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett and Incoming HRA Commissioner Steven Banks today launched a media campaign urging New Yorkers to sign up for health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act before the March 31st deadline. According to the Health Department’s 2012 Community Health Survey, nearly 20% of adult New Yorkers do not have health insurance and nearly 40% of adults who speak Spanish as their primary language at home do not have health insurance. Access to preventive services and overall health status is greatly influenced by an individual’s health insurance coverage. To motivate New Yorkers to enroll in health insurance, the ads provide examples of New Yorkers who are now eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. More than half of the City’s ads are in Spanish to reach all New Yorkers who are eligible for health insurance. The media campaign includes radio, newspaper, television, online and subway ads that will run through the end of the month.
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“The time is now for New Yorkers without health insurance to sign up for the Affordable Care Act,” said First Lady McCray. “This is too good of an opportunity to pass up. If you don’t have insurance, contact 311 or visit the New York State of Health website today. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your city – because we’re all better off when our neighbors are healthy.”
“One of the first jobs of government is to help people get the benefits they’re entitled to,” said Health Commissioner Bassett. “Not enough New Yorkers have signed up for affordable health insurance, and time is running out for people to get covered.”
“I am pleased to join the First Lady and Commissioner Bassett in this important Citywide effort to encourage everyone who is uninsured to sign up for health care coverage by March 31,” said HRA Incoming Commissioner Banks. “Whether people applied in the past and were denied or never tried, health insurance is a necessity for everyone. We want to see more of our fellow New Yorkers – children and adults, native born residents and immigrants, low income and middle income single adults and families – get the coverage they need right now.”
In implementing the Affordable Care Act, New York State is again at the forefront of policy changes to expand access to both public and private health insurance. Through its NY State of Health insurance marketplace, more low and middle income families can afford health insurance for the first time. With this campaign, New York City is working to make these new coverage options meaningful for its residents and small businesses. HRA has long worked with external partners to help uninsured residents enroll into coverage. Today, HRA provides coverage to more than 3 million residents. In NYC, virtually all children – over 95 percent – have health insurance, the best rate of coverage among other big cities in the United States. With the new help available through the Affordable Care Act, even more New Yorkers can get covered, especially many working adults who couldn’t afford coverage in the past.
The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance attainable for those who previously could not afford coverage or do not have coverage available through their employer. For example, a family of four making $32,000 a year in New York City may qualify for health insurance at no cost. A New York family of four making up to $94,200 may be eligible for financial help to purchase quality health insurance through the New York State Health Exchange.
The Affordable Care Act also provides new options for single New Yorkers. For example, a single New Yorker who makes $20,000 a year may pay as little as $26 a month for health insurance. A single resident making $45,960 a year may be eligible for financial help to purchase a health insurance plan.
The Affordable Care Act is designed to help people get necessary care without costly medical bills. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, an uninsured man under 65 years old will pay $62,174 out of pocket for his first year of colon cancer treatment. A woman under 65 years old without health insurance could pay $98,788 out of pocket for her first year of ovarian cancer treatment.
The Health Department also released a new report today showing that the percentage of uninsured adults has increased since 2008. Younger adults, men, non-whites, unemployed or self-employed and lower income adults are more likely to be uninsured. According to the report, uninsured adults are more likely to report not having a regular provider and not getting needed care than insured adults. Health insurance, including plans available through the Affordable Care Act, can improve access and link New Yorkers to needed care.
Currently, nearly 1 million adults smoke in New York City. The new Health Department report also found uninsured smokers are less likely to have used cessation aids (nicotine replacement therapy or medication) to quit than insured adults. Health insurance can remove financial barriers to smoking cessation services.
In some areas of New York City, 25% or more of adults do not have health insurance. Adults in West Queens are more likely to not have health insurance than the rest of the borough of Queens and also the rest of New York City. Other neighborhoods with 25% or more of adults without health insurance include Jamaica, Fordham/Bronx Park, Flatbush and East Harlem.
Foreign-born adults are more likely to not have health insurance than U.S.-born adults. However, undocumented immigrant parents can get health insurance for their children.
People who sign up by March 15th will have coverage on April 1st, and those who enroll by March 31st will have coverage on May 1st. New Yorkers can find their nearest enrollment center by calling 311.
For more information, call 311 or visit NYStateofHealth.ny.gov.