HHC Offers Bilingual Counselors to Help New Yorkers Apply for Health Insurance Before the February 15 ACA Deadline
Feb 10, 2015
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) officials announced today that bilingual health insurance enrollment counselors are available at HHC facilities to help New Yorkers access affordable health insurance before the February 15 Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline. HHC enrollment counselors speak a variety of languages that reflect the communities they serve, including Spanish, Chinese, French Creole, Russian, Hindi and Bengali.
“Navigating the health insurance enrollment process can be difficult for those with limited English proficiency. That can lead to people becoming discouraged and giving up on the process, even when subsidies are available to help pay for insurance,” said Seth Diamond, Chief Operating Officer at HHC’s MetroPlusHealth Health Plan. “We know that lack of access to bilingual counselors has been identified as a major barrier for enrolling limited English-speaking New Yorkers in health insurance under the ACA. With our bilingual and culturally-competent navigators, we hope to remove that barrier and get people the access to the health services they need.”
HHC and its insurance plan MetroPlusHealth are making certified, bilingual enrollment counselors available free of charge every day until the deadline at all 11 HHC hospitals, and Monday to Friday at many of its community health centers. Counselors inform and educate consumers about the best health insurance options and ways to minimize costs, and can help people through the enrollment process on the NY State of Health online marketplace.
Many New Yorkers enrolling for coverage under the ACA can qualify for tax credits to help pay insurance premiums, and assistance for co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. An individual may qualify for tax credits if he or she earns up to $45,900 a year; a family of four can qualify while earning up to $94,200 a year.
“New York State’s online marketplace offers a wide variety of plans,” added Diamond. “For a family of four with an annual income of $36,500, a plan that would normally cost $700 a month would be free after subsidies and other adjustments. The same family would pay just $88 per month for a plan that normally costs $1000 per month, and $338 for a plan that costs $1250 per month. Assistance is available for individuals as well.”
To be listed on NY State of Health, health insurance plans must provide both ‘preventive care’ and ‘essential health’ benefits for members. Preventive care benefits are provided without cost-sharing (coinsurance, deductible or copayment) and include important primary care services for adults and children.
Essential health benefits include ambulatory patient services; hospitalization; emergency services; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance abuse treatment; prescription medications; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; pediatric services, including oral and vision care; laboratory services; and wellness services including chronic disease management.
More City residents chose MetroPlusHealth as their preferred health insurance on the state’s online marketplace last year than any other plan. MetroPlusHealth offers access to a network of more than 12,000 primary care physicians and specialist sites cross the City and has some of the most affordable insurance plan options available on NY State of Health. Its plans also offers low-cost vision and dental riders. For more information about enrollment counseling from MetroPlusHealth, or for information about health insurance plans, consumers can call MetroPlusHealth customer service at 800-475-6387.
Individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid, Medicare or cannot purchase insurance under the ACA can still go to an HHC facility to receive healthcare regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay. To locate an HHC facility near you, call 311 or visit www.nychhc.org/hhc.
For a list of times and locations where MetroPlusHealth’s enrollment counselors will be available between today and February 15, click here. For information about HHC counselors, contact the HHC facility most convenient to you.