Our Blog Calendar Sign up for updates Donate

One Year Later: The Benefits and Challenges of Health Care Reform


press releases

Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
New York City  (Tuesday, March 22, 2011)

One Year Later: The Benefits and Challenges of Health Care Reform

Immigrant Groups' Mark Health Care Reform's Anniversary

On the eve of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and its diverse community partners that make up the NYIC’s Immigrant Health Access and Advocacy Collaborative came together to assess the benefits and challenges that health care reform has had on New York communities, including immigrants. As New York continues to implement health care reform in the coming year, the advocates assessed the opportunities and challenges for improving immigrants’ access to affordable health care.

Amongst the challenges:

  • The continuing need for adequate community education around changes to health care.
  • The reality that many New Yorkers will still lack health insurance even after health reform is implemented.
  • The significant barriers that still remain for immigrant communities to leverage health reform and ensure greater access and coverage.
  • The exclusion of undocumented immigrants from new benefits.

“Our immigrant clients find it challenging to understand the details of health care reform and there is a lot of misinformation that adds to the confusion. I had one immigrant client who, until a week ago, was unaware that she could insure her children through her work,” said Ms. Mirna Cortes, Director of Community Development, Central American Refugee Center. “For most people, the technicalities of health care reform are difficult to understand. What people want to know is can they at all afford to see a doctor?”

As new programs are implemented under health care reform, New Yorkers are indeed benefitting, including some immigrants. Mr. Ayaz Ahmed, Director of Health Services at South Asian Council for Social Services reported on important changes to private health insurance that has already gone into effect. The NY Bridge Plan, a new private insurance plan offers more affordable coverage for individuals with a broad range of chronic or serious medical conditions. The plan costs $421 per month, significantly cheaper than other plans in the individual market.

To be eligible for the NY Bridge Plan, you must be:

  • Uninsured for at least 6 months;
  •  A citizen or legal immigrant
  • Have a qualifying medical condition

Mr. Ahmed emphasized that one of the significant health care reform changes is that young adults up to age 29 can be covered by his/her parents’ employer-sponsored health insurance. This will be a benefit for many families moving forward.

Advocates also detailed the benefits that small business owners would gain through health care reform.

“Many of our immigrant clients who are small business owners in New York City are not clear how health care reform affects them,” said Ms. Eunjee Shin, Coordinator of Social Services at Korean Community Services. “They are unaware that they now qualify for tax credits under the new law. It is important that this information become more accessible to our communities.”

Advocates continued to urge New York State to create a user-friendly insurance exchange that will not only help New Yorkers learn about and enroll in health insurance, but will help individuals who remain uninsured learn about and enroll in financial assistance programs available at hospitals, health centers, and clinics throughout the state. In addition, advocates discussed the important role that culturally and linguistically accessible community-based organizations play in educating their communities about the changes through health reform,

“There’s a critical need for good information from trusted community-based sources about what health care benefits our communities can access,” said Ms. Jenny Rejeske, Director of Health Advocacy at The New York Immigration Coalition. “It is our hope that New York State will continue to be a model for other states in health care coverage by implementing reform that is as inclusive as possible. The NYIC’s Health Collaborative has worked hard to make sure that policymakers hear the voices of New York’s diverse population. It’s up to New York State to implement these reforms- immigrant communities have great ideas about how to make it work for everyone and those voices should be heard.”

To see the NYIC's Recommendations to Improve Access to Health Care and Coverage, please click here.




 Rss Feed    Site Map    Terms of Use    Feedback    Contact Us