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Mayor de Blasio Unveils NYC Care Card, Details Progress Toward Launch of Guaranteed Health Care

May 7, 2019

NYC Care to launch in the Bronx on August 1

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled the NYC Care card, the key to quality and affordable health care for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for insurance. When NYC Care launches in the Bronx on August 1, residents will be able to use their NYC Care Card to receive their own doctor, get preventative screenings and tests, and connect to a 24/7 service to help make appointments.

An estimated 300,000 New Yorkers are currently ineligible for health insurance, including people who can’t afford insurance and undocumented immigrants, and will be able to enroll in NYC Care. The $100 million program – one of two major components of the City’s Guaranteed Care commitment – will be fully implemented across all five boroughs by the end of 2020, making it as easy as possible for New Yorkers to get the health care they need.

“In New York City, we know health care is a human right, which is why we're making that right a reality,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re on track to guarantee health care for every single New Yorker. Access to quality and affordable health care is one of the biggest burdens working people face. Now they won’t face it alone.”

“Today’s announcement affirms New York City’s commitment to ensure that every New Yorker has access to the health care they need – which of course includes mental health,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “When we fail to invest in wellness and prevention, we pay the price in dollars spent and lives damaged. New York is pioneering a better, more inclusive approach and will continue to lead the nation in providing behavioral health services to every person in our city.”

Mayor de Blasio announced a series of milestones toward implementing Guaranteed Care in NYC:

  • 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.

“When I was appointed, one of my first tasks was to financially stabilize and transform NYC Health + Hospitals into a health care delivery system built for the 21st century landscape,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “It’s upon the achievements of the last three years that we are now poised to lead the charge and make the Mayor’s vision of Guaranteed Care a reality for all New Yorkers. We are excited about the progress made towards preparing for the launch of NYC Care, and look forward to providing New Yorkers without access to health insurance a key the City’s health care.”

“The Mayor’s Guaranteed Care commitment is a significant investment in the health and future of New York City – there is nothing else like it,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “For NYC Care, the health system is investing in new primary care doctors in the Bronx, launching a new customer service system, and preparing for our new members and patients at our clinics and hospitals. Every New Yorker has the right to health care and now they will.”

In January 2019, Mayor de Blasio announced the launch of the largest, most comprehensive initiative in the nation to guarantee health care for every New Yorker. When fully implemented, New York City will ensure the estimated 600,000 New Yorkers currently without insurance are connected to health care – including NYC’s Public Option, MetroPlus – or have direct access to the nation’s largest public health care system through the NYC Care program.

NEW NYC CARE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND NYC CARE CARD

Mayor de Blasio announced the appointment of Marielle Kress as Executive Director of NYC Care. A native New Yorker, Kress brings more than a decade of experience in policy management, operations and advocacy related to complex health care programs. Previously, she played a critical role in the successful expansion and modernization of the Medicaid program under the Obama Administration. As the Executive Director, Kress will be responsible for the strategic rollout, operations and implementation of NYC Care. She started in this role on May 6.

“For far too many people, health care feels like a luxury and a privilege rather than a basic human right,” said Marielle Kress, Executive Director of NYC Care. “I am excited to be joining the extraordinary team at NYC Health + Hospitals and I am especially honored to be leading the NYC Care program that will guarantee every New Yorker access to the health care they deserve.”

“I relied on Marielle’s judgment and expertise while overseeing the implementation of complex and historic changes to the Medicaid program,” said Cindy Mann, former Deputy Administrator of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP services within CMS during the Obama Administration. “Marielle brings energy, passion, and deep dedication to serving the most vulnerable members of our society. I’m confident she will provide the leadership needed to ensure that health care is a basic right for all New Yorkers.”

NYC Health + Hospitals is actively preparing for a successful launch of NYC Care in the Bronx this summer. NYC Health + Hospitals will hire seven doctors to serve the estimated 10,000 patients expected to enroll in NYC Care in the first six months. Since the program guarantees a dedicated primary care provider for all members, the new hires will help manage the expected increase in demand for services.

Additionally, the Mayor revealed the design for the NYC Care card. The blue and orange card features the city skyline as part of the NYC Care logo and the tagline “Your Key to the City’s Health Care.” All members will receive this card, which will be the key to providing members with valuable information about their dedicated doctor, a 24/7 customer assistance line where they can access an operator to help answer questions, and clear information about copays that are affordable to individual members. NYC Care’s logo “Your Key to The City’s Health Care” is a joint effort between City Hall and Area 23, an FCB Health Network company. This is the first project assigned by NYC’s Creative Council, recently formed to advise and provide the city with creative solutions. Susan Credle, FCB’s Global Chief Creative Officer, is a founding member of the council.

HEALTH INSURANCE ENROLLMENT UPDATES

As part of the its mission to ensure every New Yorker has access to quality, affordable health care, the City doubled down on its outreach to connect eligible New Yorkers to health insurance options that fit their needs.

  • GetCoveredNYC
    GetCoveredNYC, the City’s health insurance outreach and enrollment program, has enrolled 19,942 New Yorkers in health care coverage from January through March 2019, more than half of the Mayor’s stated goal of enrolling 31,000 New Yorkers by July 2019. Since the Mayor signed Executive Order 40 Connecting New Yorkers to Health Insurance, GetCoveredNYC has collaborated with 34 City agencies on outreach and enrollment opportunities that make it easier for New Yorkers to determine their eligibility for coverage, especially outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period, and sign up for insurance.

    Since its creation in 2016, GetCoveredNYC – which is overseen by the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit – has now helped more than 160,000 New Yorkers enroll in the New York State’s ACA health insurance marketplace. About 2.5 million New York City residents are now insured through the state’s insurance marketplace as of January 2019, according to the New York State Department of Health’s county-level data on health insurance enrollment.
  • MetroPlus, the City’s Public Option
    MetroPlus today also launched its latest public awareness campaign, “Health Care is Your Right. Not a Privilege.” The campaign will be seen through the end of June on subway cars, bus shelters near NYC/Health + Hospitals locations, ethnic and community-based print media, and featured at other venues across New York City, including Brooklyn Cyclones games. The ads will be available in eight languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Polish and Russian.

    MetroPlus provides affordable health insurance that connects insurance-eligible New Yorkers to a network of providers that includes NYC Health + Hospitals’ 70 patient care sites, including 11 hospitals. MetroPlus serves as an affordable, quality option for people on Medicaid, Medicare, and those purchasing insurance on the exchange.

NYC CARE UPDATES

  • Eligibility Determination: NYC Care will be open to anyone who has lived in New York City for six months or longer and does not have an affordable insurance option or who is ineligible for insurance.
  • New 24/7 customer assistance operation: Starting August 1, NYC Care members will have access to a 24/7 customer assistance line where they ask questions about NYC Care and speak to an on-call clinician for all of their needs, including prescription refills. Members will also be able to schedule appointments at convenient times and will have assistance to help navigate members through the NYC Health + Hospitals system.
  • Expanded pharmacy hours: NYC Care patients will have 24/7 access to medications in the Bronx starting Aug. 1. This includes expanded hours at all NYC Health + Hospital pharmacy locations in (NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, and NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx). Until now, uninsured patients have been limited to NYC Health + Hospital pharmacy access during business hours, which makes it challenging for patients to get their medications if they are at work.
  • Outreach with Community-based Organizations: To reach eligible New Yorkers, NYC Health + Hospitals is partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The health system will invest $450,000 to partner with community-based organizations in the Bronx to reach New Yorkers eligible to participate in NYC Care. This money will fund up to 15 full-time outreach workers, or the part time equivalent, who will conduct direct, grass-roots outreach to targeted population in a culturally appropriate and sensitive manner and make appointments with NYC Care enrollment staff.

“In January Mayor de Blasio made a huge commitment to New Yorkers to guarantee affordable and direct access to healthcare right here in our City. Today we are so happy to stand alongside our Mayor and his administration as we make meaningful progress and fulfill this wonderful promise. We welcome the appointment of the Director of NYC Care and the new NYC Care Card will go a long way not only for its practical purpose but as a symbol that all New Yorkers are welcome and valued in our City. It will truly be New Yorkers' key to health and wellness. We look forward to working with the administration to get the word out about this initiative which has the potential to literally save lives,” said Theo J. Oshiro, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York.

“I’ve always believed health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for the precious few. It’s the reason I’m a founding member of the Congressional Medicare for All Caucus and why I fight so hard as a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to protect affordable care. The launch of NYC Care proves that New York City is in agreement that everyone deserves quality health care and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this initiative,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.

“Everyone, regardless of their background, deserves access to quality affordable health care. Through the new NYC Care card program, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are currently ineligible for or can’t afford health insurance will now be able to access the preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions that they need to stay healthy. In the Bronx alone, 10,000 individuals are expected to enroll for coverage. NYC Care members in the Bronx will also have access care to new 24/7 NYC Health + Hospital pharmacy services and seven new health care facilities with doctors through this program. I applaud Mayor De Blasio’s commitment to ensuring everyone in the Bronx and throughout the City has access to the health care that they need,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

"The NYC Care card is an important tool for New Yorkers of all economic background or immigration status. This is a service and benefit that I know constituents of mine in the Bronx will benefit from. Increasing access to health services is a laudable goal and I am glad to see that our community partners in the Bronx and greater New York City are invested in the health and well-being of all New Yorkers,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat.

"All New Yorkers should have access to high quality healthcare, regardless of their documentation status or ability to pay. The NYC Care program is a tremendous step forward towards the ultimate goal of universal healthcare, and I applaud the initiative in creating this new program. I am excited to see the continued outreach efforts to get as many of the 300,000 New Yorkers currently without health insurance enrolled into NYC Care, and there is no better place to start than the Bronx. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for working hard to make this vision into a reality," said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for continuing this laser-like focus on guaranteeing health care for every New Yorker. At a time when, once again, too many Americans are suffering without affordable health care, this initiative has emerged as an important reminder that we must treat such care as a human right,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido.

“As doctors, we firmly believe that every New Yorker deserves access to quality care and everyone is either a patient or potential patient. NYC Care has the goal of guaranteeing health care for every New Yorker and to serve the 600,000 New Yorkers without insurance. NYC Health + Hospitals doctors work hard every day delivering quality patient care to anyone who comes to our facilities. Health care is a right. NYC Care will help our patients and communities by striving to give all New Yorkers the quality care they deserve. We must all work together to help to create a healthier New York,” said Aycan Turkmen, M.D., 1st Vice President, Doctors Council.

“All people, regardless of their income or immigration status, deserve access to high-quality health care. Period. We are thrilled to see Mayor Bill de Blasio unveil the NYC Care card today to ensure that more New Yorkers can access health care, including preventive care, gynecological care, mental health care and other services. As the White House continues to spew anti-immigrant rhetoric and attempt to block immigrants from accessing basic resources they need, NYC must do everything we can support our immigrant communities. NYC is a place for everyone—a place where all people can live and thrive without fear to be who we are—and the new NYC Care program affirms that,” said Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City.

“At a time when fundamental access to health care is under attack by the federal administration, Mayor de Blasio is showing true leadership by delivering on his promise of healthcare for all,” said Frankie Miranda, Executive Vice President at Hispanic Federation. "Hundreds of thousands of families in New York often have to make sacrifices or forego the medical attention they need because they don't have access to affordable health care. Today's announcement of the NYC Care Cards, and Mayor de Blasio's fulfillment of NYC Care, will give New York families the peace of mind they need to focus on what matters most - school, work, and career development. Most importantly, it will ensure we can have a healthy and economically thriving city where no one skips medical care or goes bankrupt because of the cost of healthcare."

"We are optimistic about the progress to make timely, high-quality care available to all Bronx residents this summer," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "As long as health insurance discrimination against immigrant communities persists in New York State, programs like NYC Care represent a critical improvement in helping uninsured New Yorkers get more patient-centered care. We look forward to continuing to work with Health + Hospitals, city officials, and trusted community-based organizations to get NYC Care off on the right foot." 

“The significant increase in enrollments this year in light of the federal government’s efforts to sabotage the ACA is a testament to GetCoveredNYC’s innovative outreach strategies and our partner agencies’ work to reach uninsured New Yorkers,” said Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Omar Khan. “All New Yorkers, regardless of income or immigration status, should have access to quality health care, and we look forward to partnering with NYC Care to make that a reality.”

“Health care is a right for all, not a privilege for only those who can afford care,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The City guarantees care for all New Yorkers, regardless of your family's income or immigration status. Reliable access to affordable and quality health care services is a must for everyone to maintain optimal health.”

“Working hand in hand with community groups is an indispensable part of breaking down barriers to health care for immigrant communities,” said May Malik, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Nearly half of our undocumented sisters and brothers lack health insurance. By working with trusted community partners, we will eliminate gaps that stand in the way of quality health care for all New Yorkers.”

“All New Yorkers, regardless of their means or status, deserve the chance to make informed choices and access high quality health care,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “The Mayor’s Fund is thrilled to partner with trusted community leaders and our City agency partners at NYC Health + Hospitals, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit to provide New Yorkers with valuable information about NYC Care and connect them with the services and resources they rightfully deserve.”

“New York’s entire hospital community strongly supports universal access to care, and the City’s NYC Care card and Guaranteed Care commitment are important steps towards achieving that goal,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his leadership on this vital issue.”

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis when you don’t have health insurance complicates treatment and puts undue pressure on families and patients,” said Michael Davoli, Director, New York Metro Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Comprehensive health insurance enables New Yorkers to get preventive screenings that can detect serious illnesses like cancer, at the earliest and most treatable stage, and preventive screenings are an important component of the mayor’s proactive health policies. We encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of the available programs and sign up for health insurance today. ACS CAN applauds Mayor de Blasio for his efforts to make it easier for all New Yorkers to afford lifesaving health insurance.”

“Providing guaranteed healthcare coverage for all New Yorkers brings us closer to achieving health equity,” said Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, President of The New York Academy of Medicine. “Today’s actions by Mayor de Blasio are critical and meaningful steps to advance that goal.”

“It’s heartening to see the important progress in NYC Care,” said Dr. Anthony Shih, President of United Hospital Fund. “Until we have permanent solutions from the federal and state government, local efforts such as NYC Care are critically important to ensure that our most vulnerable populations have access to essential health care.”

“The city’s uninsured are far less likely to receive appropriate and timely medical care and often suffer worse medical outcomes, including higher mortality rates. The American Heart supports efforts to extend health care coverage to all New Yorkers,” said Robin Vitale, American Heart Association, VP of President of Health Strategies for New York City. “Closing the gaps, connecting our city’s most under-served to quality health care will help hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who lack insurance live longer, healthier lives.”

“I believe that every New Yorker deserves and has a right to have stable, dignified; accessible and culturally competent health care - that is one of most basic needs that should be guaranteed in a moral society,” said Anthony Feliciano, Director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System. “We know that NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to that goal. NYC Care is another example of that commitment to provide care regardless of ability to pay, especially to those who are still without insurance and facing barriers to health care.”

"Every New Yorker should have access to first-rate, comprehensive medical care. I applaud the Mayor for his leadership in extending that access to all New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay," said Peter Ward, President of the New York Hotel Trades Council. "NYC Care will be a game changer that brings health access and equity to our most vulnerable communities, and our union proudly supports the effort."

About Marielle Kress:

Marielle Kress most recently served as Director of Federal Advocacy at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Washington, D.C., where she led successful campaigns to protect Medicaid and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional 10 years, among other access and financing issues intended to advance equitable provision of health care to all children and families. Earlier, Kress served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where she held integral roles in expanding and modernizing Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Kress began her career in health care policy with the District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance and in various other governmental, advocacy, and consulting positions. A native New Yorker, she received a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and a Master in Public Policy with a concentration in health policy from Georgetown University.


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