Mayor de Blasio Orders All City Agencies to Help Enroll New Yorkers in Health Insurance, Including NYC's Public Option
Executive Order builds on mayoral commitment to guarantee health care for all, reminds eligible New Yorkers of Jan. 31 deadline to enroll in health insurance
Jan 22, 2019
Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio today 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.
“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 MetroPlusHealth, 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 MetroPlusHealth 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 MetroPlusHealth, 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 MetroPlusHealth’ 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. MetroPlusHealth 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 MetroPlusHealth can learn more by visiting MetroPlusHealth.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 MetroPlusHealth Health Plan. GetCoveredNYC has assisted over 130,000 New Yorkers in enrolling in health insurance.
“By providing accessible and affordable healthcare for all New Yorkers including entrepreneurs and employees, we’re creating a healthier economy,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, New Yorkers can now access affordable healthcare which will go a long way to build a more thriving city.”
“Access to quality, affordable health care is a human right that all New Yorkers deserve, regardless of immigration status,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “NYC Care will make that right a reality for so many of our neighbors, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will work with our sister agencies to get the word out and connect New Yorkers to care.”
“I was excited to learn about the Mayor’s initiative to assist New Yorkers looking to enroll in healthcare coverage during the open enrollment period,” said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz. “This is a wonderful start to providing all of our community members with the quality, accessible medical care they deserve, in all parts of this City. I look forward to partnering with the Mayor’s Office in assisting my constituents in applying for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, as well as the other programs offered under this initiative.”
“With only nine days left to enroll in health coverage through the New York State of Health Marketplace, it’s imperative that as many uninsured New Yorkers as possible know the options available to them,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I thank the de Blasio administration for taking steps to expand the GetCoveredNYC initiative and connect even more people to care.”
“Providing affordable health insurance that allows access to quality healthcare should be the top priority for New York City. I want to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for his advocacy on behalf of hardworking New Yorkers through the GetCoveredNYC enrollment program. This important initiative will provide critical resources to those who are in desperate need of health insurance. In the great city of New York, access to quality healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, and should not be discriminate based on socioeconomic or ethnic background. I believe that by working together, we will be able to provide universal health coverage to all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
“GetCoveredNYC has our full backing. As frontline nurses, we see the terrible downside when people go without care, ending up in hospitals with high acuities. But with insurance they can afford, primary and preventive care can be accessed— lynchpins of a system for the public’s health. It’s very exciting to move towards guaranteed healthcare for everyone in NYC in 2019,” Judith Cutchin, RN, NYSNA Board Member and President, NYSNA’s NYC H+H/Mayorals Executive Council.
Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City said, “All people deserve access to affordable health insurance and high-quality health care. Planned Parenthood of New York City applauds Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio for the Administration’s efforts to bolster health insurance enrollment of New Yorkers and expand the efforts of GetCoveredNYC. With the Trump-Pence Administration working hard to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, New York City must do everything we can to ensure New Yorkers can access affordable health insurance and the care they need when the they need it. Planned Parenthood of New York City is proud to enroll people in health insurance and financial assistance programs onsite at all of our health centers, including Medicaid and insurance plans available through the New York State of Health. Since 2000, PPNYC’s financial counselors have enrolled approximately 7000 patients each year and look forward to continuing the program.”
“As doctors, one of our primary concerns is that our patients and communities we care for have access to patient care services. The actions taken by the City building on its other programs amplifies educating and informing our patients about their health insurance options and enrollment. It is fitting that this announcement comes on the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day as health care is a right for all.” said Frank Proscia, M.D., President, Doctors Council SEIU.
“Make the Road New York applauds Mayor Bill de Blasio for allocating additional resources to the Get Covered NYC campaign,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “Make the Road has partnered with the campaign over the past few years to ensure that everyone who is eligible for insurance is connected to an enroller for in person assistance. We look forward to continuing to partner with New York City on this initiative moving forward.”
“If you have heart disease or stroke, health insurance can be incredibly important for your care. You’re more likely to get the treatment you need, have shorter hospital stays and have improved outcomes compared to people without health insurance,” said Robin Vitale, Vice President of Health Strategies, American Heart Association. “If you have health insurance you can go to the doctor for preventive services and get the care that you need to stay healthy and prevent serious illnesses. The Association applauds the city’s efforts and encourages residents to ‘get covered, NYC!'”
“Receiving a cancer diagnosis, when you don’t have health insurance complicates treatment and puts undue pressure on families and patients,” said Michael Davoli, Director, New York Metro Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Comprehensive health insurance enables New Yorkers to get preventive screenings that can detect serious illnesses like cancer at the earliest and most treatable stage, and preventive screenings are an important component of the mayor’s proactive health policies. “We encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of the programs available to them and sign up for health insurance today. ACS CAN applauds Mayor de Blasio for his efforts to make it easier for all New Yorkers to afford lifesaving health insurance.”
“We support the Mayor’s effort to provide more information and resources to critical services like health coverage. With nine days left in the enrollment period, we encourage New Yorkers who haven’t enrolled already to learn about the available health insurance options and apply,” said Jon Park, Executive Director of MinKwon Center for Community Action.
“Access to critical services like low-cost, high-quality healthcare–and information about how to access those services–is essential for our immigrant communities, particularly recently-arrived immigrants,” says Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “On behalf of our membership of day laborers, immigrant construction workers, and immigrant job seekers, I applaud our city officials for increasing these services in a time of anti-immigrant actions at the federal level. We are eager to partner with the Mayor to ensure that this outreach gets the resources where they’re needed most.”
“The Mayor’s healthcare plan is exactly what this city needs, especially to vulnerable populations and the undocumented immigrants to whom HCC provides free services throughout the year,” says Dr. Andre K. Peck, Executive Director of Haitian-American Community Coalition. “Too many people are being neglected because they can’t afford decent healthcare, which should be a right to everyone. We applaud the Mayor for recognizing this need and creating a plan that serves the needs of everyone, regardless of your status.”
“We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for this visionary initiative guaranteeing access to healthcare for all New Yorkers. As immigrant New Yorkers, nurses, and working people, the we understand how vital access to healthcare is. This Executive Order to bolster health insurance enrollment through GetCoveredNYC before the enrollment deadline will help the New Yorkers our members in hospitals across the City every single day,” said Tenzin Bhakto President of the Tibetan Nurses Association.