MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (center) unveils the NYC Care card, making health care available to New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for insurance, at the J. Cesar Galarce auditorium inside Lincoln Hospital on May 7.
Photo by José A. Giralt
The goal of guaranteeing healthcare for all New Yorkers advanced on May 7. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at Lincoln Hospital the initial offering of the NYC Care card, guaranteeing all New Yorkers access to healthcare.
“Healthcare is a human right. It’s as simple as that. . . . It’s a universal right. And we need, in this city, to prove that things can be done differently,” de Blasio said, at a news conference on May 8.
The city estimates that 600,000 New Yorkers do not have insurance to receive healthcare, half of those are thought to be undocumented. As de Blasio held up a sample card, he said, “For so many people right now who have no coverage and no idea where to turn other than the emergency room, this card is going to change people’s lives.”
The Bronx will first benefit from the program starting Aug. 1. The mayor expects the other boroughs to be fully covered by the end of 2020. A press release handout from the Mayor’s Office shows the following benefits to the card, which have been in place before. Here’s a direct reference to it:
- New NYC Care Card, which will provide each member with a dedicated doctor, access to a 24/7 customer service line to make appointments, and clear copays that are affordable to each individual member.
- New NYC Health + Hospitals doctors hired in the Bronx to serve approximately 10,000 patients expected to enroll in NYC Care in the first six months.
- New Executive Director for NYC Care, Marielle Kress, who was instrumental in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) successful expansion of Medicaid in states across the country.
- Access to 24/7 pharmacy services in the Bronx, launching on August 1, that will provide NYC Care members with easy access to affordable medication.
- GetGoveredNYC, the City’s health insurance outreach and enrollment initiative, has enrolled more than 19,000 New Yorkers into coverage in 2019, a 19 percent increase from the same time period last year.
Those who sign up will have to prove their New York City residency and show they cannot afford healthcare insurance. The mayor clarified that during the sign-up process some applicants may discover that they can pay for insurance in some form. “Some people may be eligible for insurance and we show them every conceivable option, and match what they can afford,” de Blasio said.
The card will also include access to mental health treatment. First Lady Chirlane McCray announced that those suffering from anxiety, depression, and even addiction can also sign up. “This NYC Care card will be a key to all of our behavioral health services offered at our public hospitals and clinics. Primary care doctors will assess the whole person and work with patients to determine the best course of treatment,” said McCray.