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New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the New York Immigration Coalition Commend the New York State of Health for Improving Access for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Consumers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Stephanie Ramirez; Gigi Kwon,  E-mail: sramirez@groupgordon.com; gkwon@groupgordon.com
New York  (Thursday, December 4, 2014)

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the New York Immigration Coalition Commend the New York State of Health for Improving Access for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Consumers

 NYS Department of Health Rolls Out Spanish Version of Marketplace Application and Website

New York, NY, December 4, 2014 − New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) commend the New York State Department of Health for improving language access and immigrant inclusion on NY State of Health, New York’s Health Plan Marketplace. In November, the State took the critical step of launching a Spanish language online application as well as a Spanish version of the “Individuals and Families” section of the website based on the feedback from NYLPI and NYIC in preparation for this year’s open enrollment period, which began November 15th and runs through February 15th.

Building on the success of the Marketplace’s first enrollment period, New York State has worked in collaboration with NYLPI, the NYIC, and other immigrant health advocates to identify and resolve potential language barriers in accessing the Marketplace for thousands of limited English proficient (LEP) and immigrant New Yorkers. Additionally, it has committed to continuing to work closely with these community-based organizations to reach immigrant and LEP communities, and identify and remedy any remaining access barriers so that all New Yorkers, regardless of language, have access to health insurance.

“The Spanish application and website—in addition to the publication of newly-translated fact sheets in multiple languages, targeted outreach to diverse communities, and trainings for in-person assisters on topics including immigrant eligibility and cultural competency—are a clear reflection of the State’s commitment to language access and immigrant inclusion. We look forward to continuing to work with the State to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of where they were born or what language they speak, have the opportunity to benefit from the promise of the Affordable Care Act,” said McGregor Smyth, Executive Director at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

“We congratulate our colleagues at the New York State of Health on the long-anticipated launch of the Spanish language website, and on their plans for targeted outreach to immigrant communities. This is an important step in making sure that New York immigrant communities can take advantage of all their insurance and benefit options,” says Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We look forward to working with the state to make sure that all low-English proficient communities can get the information they need about private health insurance options, Medicaid, and Child Health Plus.”

“Governor Cuomo has been deeply committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of language proficiency, have easy access to state programs and services ranging from access to health care to

entrepreneurial assistance,” said Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights Alphonso David. “We appreciate New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the New York Immigration Coalition recognizing the new enhancements to our state marketplace, the New York State of Health. We look forward to continuing to work with community and advocacy organizations to make it easier for all New Yorkers, including immigrant and LEP communities, to access affordable comprehensive health insurance.”

"New York State of Health has doubled up on its grassroots marketing efforts to better connect with New York's diverse and hard to reach populations to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get quality health care at an affordable price," said NYSOH Executive Director Donna Frescatore. "Rolling out the Spanish website and providing translated materials to our consumers will go a long way in breaking down language barriers and opening doors to greater health care coverage."

Prior to the launch of the first enrollment period in 2013, the Urban Institute estimated that 18 percent of potential enrollees would be Spanish-speaking. According to data released by the New York State Department of Health, only 10 percent of enrollees from the first open enrollment period, which began Oct. 1, 2013 and ended on March 31, 2014, self-reported that their preferred language is Spanish. The State’s release on November 14, 2015 of the Spanish application and Spanish website will greatly improve the ability of Spanish-speaking New Yorkers to understand their options and enroll in health insurance coverage this year.

The New York State Department of Health is taking additional steps to reach LEP and immigrant consumers, has published fact sheets and outreach materials in 17 languages, and will launch ad campaigns in a diverse array of ethnic media outlets. These efforts will go a long way towards ensuring that New York’s diverse communities are informed of the new coverage options available through the New York State of Health.

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About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and nonprofits with critical legal assistance. NYLPI is the recipient of The New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards.

About the New York Immigration Coalition
The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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