Model Strategy for Helping Uninsured New Yorkers
HHC's unique charity care program - HHC Options - marked its second successful year of making excellent health care affordable for thousands of uninsured New Yorkers. The program helps eligible patients get public health insurance and gives reduced fees to other uninsured patients.
“We reassure patients that they don't need to postpone getting healthcare for financial reasons, said Carol Ann DeLuca, HHC Options Counselor at North Central Bronx Hospital. “We provide financial help to all New Yorkers regardless of their immigration status, give them information in their own language and keep all information strictly confidential.”
HHC Options has expanded eligibility by offering financial help to uninsured individuals whose incomes are on or below 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The discounted fee for services is based on family size and income. For example, a child in a family of four whose annual family income in 2005 was under $58,000 could be seen by a doctor for $15 per visit.
“By raising the income eligibility we make health care accessible for more working poor and the many other employed New Yorkers who simply cannot afford health insurance,” said Marlene Zurack, HHC’s Senior Vice President of Finance and CFO.
To let New Yorkers know about its charity care program, HHC has distributed hundreds of multilingual flyers and brochures and produced a public service video in English and Spanish featuring NBC newscaster Lynda Baquero.
With a new state law setting stricter charity care policy standards for all private and nonprofit hospitals by January 2007, HHC Options is poised to serve as a model for others to follow.
Learn More about financial assistance for healthcare costs in New York City Public Hospitals