NYC Care, the de Blasio administration’s answer to universal health care for New Yorkers, became available to Brooklyn and Staten Island residents on Thursday.
The administration expects to enroll 15,000 new NYC Care members in both boroughs over the next six months. Launched last August in the Bronx, more than 13,000 residents there are enrolled in the program offering free or low-cost health services.
“In New York City, we believe that healthcare is a human right,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Already, NYC Care has brought 13,000 people in the Bronx access to quality, affordable health care. By expanding to Staten Island and Brooklyn, we can help even more New Yorkers get the care they need.”
Any currently uninsured Brooklynite or Staten Islander who’s lived in New York City for at least six months can enroll in the NYC Care program. New members will be offered a primary care provider within two weeks of enrollment, and have access to patient care overseen by NYC Health + Hospitals.
Benefits of the program include 24/7 customer assistance and a hotline for an on-call clinician to speak about patient needs, such as prescription refills.
To help enroll members, the city enlisted the assistance of nine community based organizations: African Refuge, Brighton Neighborhood Association, Arab-American Family Support Center, Council of Peoples Organization (COPO), Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, Make the Road New York, Mixteca Organization, Project Hospitality, and Single Stop. Members of the organizations have already begun outreach efforts in 20 different languages.
Max Hadler, director of health policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, remarked that NYC Care is critically important for immigrants in light of the recent public charge restrictions imposed by the Trump administration and upheld earlier this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This program has already, and will continue to, go a long way in increasing access to healthcare services for immigrants and low-income communities,” added Becca Telzak, director of health programs at Make the Road New York, a nonprofit serving immigrants in New York City. “At a time when immigrant communities are under attack, NYC Care stands as a symbol that all New Yorkers are welcome and valued in our city.
De Blasio said the first round of NYC Care enrollment resulted in more than 27,000 provider visits and more than 20,000 filled prescriptions for plan members.
To learn more about NYC Care, call 646-NYC-CARE or download materials at nyccare.nyc.