New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s Gouverneur Health officials today announced that English, Spanish- and Chinese-speaking health insurance enrollment counselors will be available on-site to help New Yorkers access affordable health insurance before the March 31 Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline. Gouverneur Health will partner with HHC’s own health plan, MetroPlus, and with HealthFirst, to provide walk-in hours for new patients and appointments for existing patients by calling 212-238-7139, to meet with bilingual counselors from 9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday, free of charge, at their Lower East Side health center located at 227 Madison Street.
The 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 Affordable Care Act. That’s why HHC and Gouverneur Health are making available certified, bilingual enrollment counselors to inform and educate the community about the best health insurance options and ways to minimize premiums and out-of-pocket costs. March 31 is the deadline for individuals to enroll in health insurance coverage to avoid a penalty for not obtaining insurance in 2014 under the ACA.
“The majority of our patients are Latino or Chinese, and for many, English is their second language,” said Martha A. Sullivan, DSW, Gouverneur Health Executive Director. “Navigating the healthcare system can be challenging for people with limited English proficiency, and our facility has a successful track record of offering in-language resources to the community. Gouverneur remains committed to eliminating language as a barrier to accessing healthcare and we are determined to accommodate as many people as possible as the March 31 deadline approaches.”
“Gouverneur’s successful efforts to accommodate Spanish- and Chinese-speaking New Yorkers demonstrates an unmet need as the March 31 deadline approaches,” said Roger Milliner, MetroPlus Deputy Executive Director. “Many people in the community were discouraged because it’s difficult to find bilingual representatives to help with the enrollment process. Partnering with Gouverneur Health to offer walk-in access to in-language counselors is key to reaching these communities.”
HHC’s health plan, MetroPlus, is one of the options on the health insurance Marketplace. MetroPlus offers access to a network of more than 12,000 primary care physicians and specialist sites cross the city and has the most affordable options in three of the four levels available on the Marketplace. As of March 17, more than 49,000 shoppers on the NY State of Health – the official health insurance marketplace in New York – chose MetroPlus as their preferred health insurance option, making it one of the most popular choices among New York City residents. The plan covers all essential health benefits, including emergency services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use services, prescription drugs, and preventive and wellness services. It also offers a vision and dental rider for an additional low cost; the rate varies per level.