Local Hospitals, Insurer, Launch New Initiative to Help New Yorkers Benefit from 2015 Special Enrollment Period
Effort Will Bring Chinese, Spanish and Other Language Enrollment Support Services to Brooklyn and Queens
Lisa Davis, 516-405-7549, email@example.com
April 13, 2015
East Hills, NY (April 13, 2015) – North Shore-LIJ CareConnect Insurance Company, Inc. (CareConnect), Maimonides Medical Center, Forest Hills Hospital and a coalition of community organizations today announced a new initiative to help everyday New Yorkers enroll in a qualified health insurance plan before the end of the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) on April 30th. The program will bring special CareConnect outreach teams to Brooklyn and Queens where they will offer assistance with enrolling for health insurance. The initiative will make special outreach to communities that face a language barrier while navigating the complex system of health insurance and benefits. CareConnect team members stationed at Maimonides and at three locations affiliated with Forest Hills Hospital will be able to offer guidance in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujianese, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. Anyone who is interested can drop in or call CareConnect to set up an appointment to speak with someone in their language. The teams will be stationed at the sites Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. through April 30.
“Getting health insurance for the first time can be intimidating, especially if there’s a language barrier,” said Alan Murray, president and CEO of CareConnect. “At CareConnect, we see ourselves as advocates for the communities we serve. Helping people connect to health care and making sure they have every opportunity to manage their health affordably is central to our mission.”
CareConnect partnered with Maimonides Medical Center and Forest Hills Hospital in order to help them better serve their communities, which, for a variety of reasons, including linguistic barriers, have seen lower rates of insurance than New York City's population at large. According to the state’s Department of Health, over 14% of New Yorkers of Asian descent currently lack health insurance, a number many advocates blame on a lack of English proficiency. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that Latinos make up 25% of the US uninsured population, and while the uninsured rate amongst Hispanics dropped 20% nationally after last year’s enrollment period, only 50% of eligible Latinos were aware of their new coverage options, compared to nearly 75% of eligible non-Hispanic whites.
To help mitigate these barriers to enrollment, CareConnect will offer a variety of services, including support while navigating the New York State of Health website, assistance in figuring out potential eligibility for a subsidy and help choosing and purchasing a plan. The teams will offer these services at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, Forest Hills Hospital in Forest Hills, North Shore-LIJ Medical Group in Flushing (Queens Crossing) and Forest Hills Urgent Care Clinic in Rego Park. People can call to set up an appointment (855-706-7545) or drop in.
“New York City is the most diverse city in the United States of America, and how we go about insuring its residents needs to reflect that diversity,” said John Liu, the former New York City Comptroller. “Programs like this, which connect directly with communities in the way those communities find most helpful, bring us one step closer to our shared goal of making sure that everyone in our city has access to the health care they need.”
“Access to health insurance is something that every New Yorker needs and deserves,” said Rabbi Robert Kaplan, Director of the Center for Community Leadership at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “This initiative is an important way to make sure that every community benefits from access to coverage.”
New York's Special Enrollment Period was announced in February and extends from March 1 through April 30. To be eligible participants must have been unaware that they would face tax penalties if they did not enroll in a health plan, and have faced a tax penalty during 2014.
For more information about CareConnect, call 855-706-7545 or visit www.nslijcareconnect.com. Information about the special enrollment period is also available at New York State of Health, www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.
The first provider-owned commercial health plan in New York State, CareConnect was created by North Shore-LIJ Health System to make it easy for people to get and stay healthy. Its innovative model is designed to provide access to care that’s both excellent and affordable. CareConnect was founded in 2013 and offers a variety of plans for individuals, families and businesses. It is headquartered in East Hills, New York. For more information, visit www.nslijcareconnect.com.
Manager, Corporate Communications