|Mayor Bill de Blasio. (nyc.gov press photo)|
NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio last Tuesday January 22, to sign an executive order requiring City agencies to provide New Yorkers with information on health insurance options and encourage them to enroll in a plan. Effective immediately, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit will train agency front line staff, provide agencies with relevant information, and develop a framework to ensure all New Yorkers who interact with the City get information to help them access affordable health insurance. The executive order means increased outreach to enroll people in insurance at parks, schools, public housing, police precincts and government offices—anywhere where City agencies connect with New Yorkers directly.
This order expands on the work GetCoveredNYC is already doing to help New Yorkers enroll in health insurance before the Open Enrollment deadline of Jan. 31 and builds on the Mayor’s commitment to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. Read the order.
“Health care is a human right, and we won’t rest until every New Yorker has coverage,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re now asking all City agencies to help us achieve this goal by sharing information, connecting people to our GetCovered team and ultimately help all New Yorkers access affordable coverage.”
“Whether it’s 600,000 New Yorkers, or just one, it’s one too many people who are living without health insurance or guaranteed health care,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “While our City has done a lot to engage hard-to-reach New Yorkers who are eligible but uninsured, this Executive Order will leverage the expansive reach of all our City agencies to get us even closer to ensuring everyone has the information and resources to receive health insurance and get connected to quality care.”
“With health insurance, people know what benefits they are entitled to, and they are empowered with the range of options available to them,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “I commend the Mayor's executive order redoubling efforts to get more people insured.”
“Health insurance and access to quality care are basic rights that all New Yorkers deserve,” said Eric Rotondi, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “The mayor’s executive order builds on years of outreach by GetCoveredNYC’s City and community partners, and helps ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income or any other factor, are aware of the assistance available to them and receive care when they need it.”
“At a time when the federal government is threatening crucial services and benefits for low-income families, this Administration is making a concerted effort to ensure that every New Yorker, regardless of where they come from, has access to quality healthcare,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This Executive Order expands the role of City agencies to use every point of interaction with New Yorkers as an opportunity to educate them about their options for health insurance and to remind them about the upcoming deadline for the Open Enrollment period.”
“GetCovered has helped tens of thousands of New Yorkers sign up for health insurance, and today, the City is committing to help even more New Yorkers enroll,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “People with insurance are more likely to have had a routine checkup, get preventive care, and to have a personal care provider -- important components for maintaining good health.”
Eight million New Yorkers now have quality health insurance, thanks to the expanded options available to New Yorkers under the Affordable Care Act. In New York City, the uninsured rate has decreased by nearly fifty percent since 2013. Nonetheless, about 600,000 New Yorkers remain without coverage, half of which are eligible to sign up for insurance either through state or city programs, including MetroPlus, the City’s public insurance option. Starting in summer 2019, New Yorkers ineligible for insurance coverage will be able to sign up for NYC Care, a new program that connects people with quality, affordable care and which guarantees them access to a primary care physician at one of NYC Health + Hospitals’ 70+ facilities.
The executive order comes as GetCoveredNYC reminds New Yorkers that the deadline for Open Enrollment period is nine days away. GetCoveredNYC is a citywide initiative that helps New Yorkers enroll in health insurance and get access to primary and preventive care. The initiative provides free one-on-one enrollment assistance, in person, over the phone, and online at locations across the five boroughs, including many NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, Department of Health facilities, Human Resources Administration offices, and MetroPlus offices. Assistance is available in more than a dozen languages. During the Open Enrollment period, uninsured New Yorkers can enroll in health insurance coverage through the New York State of Health Marketplace. New Yorkers who previously enrolled through the Marketplace must renew their health insurance each year to maintain coverage.
In addition, New Yorkers are encouraged to learn more about MetroPlus, which is undergoing significant improvements to create a more streamlined and customer-friendly experience. Starting later this year, New Yorkers who are covered through one of MetroPlus’ 100+ plan options will have better access to mental health services, more health care delivery options thanks to telehealth, and will benefit from an enhanced website and customer service call center. MetroPlus will also create new partnerships with city agencies to reach the uninsured and improve service, and will encourage primary care visits through tighter integration with NYC Health + Hospitals, as well as offering new member incentives and rewards.
New Yorkers can contact GetCoveredNYC and receive free enrollment assistance by calling 311, texting CoveredNYC (SeguroNYC en Español) to 877877, or visiting nyc.gov/GetCoveredNYC. They can also enroll directly online through the New York State of Health Marketplace by visiting nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Those interested in signing up for MetroPlus can learn more by visiting metroplus.org.
Created by Mayor de Blasio in 2016, GetCoveredNYC is a citywide outreach initiative that helps all New Yorkers enroll in health insurance and access primary and preventive care. The initiative is a partnership between the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Human Resources Administration and MetroPlus Health Plan. GetCoveredNYC has assisted over 130,000 New Yorkers in enrolling in health insurance.