October 11, 2015 by Tony Novak
New York became the third major city in the U.S. to expand access to health care to immigrants regardless of their legal status. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the details of a program developed by The Task Force on Immigrant Health Care Access that will expand coverage in early 2016. The program called “Direct Access” will offer access to health care to about 1,000 New Yorkers at a cost of about $6 million. “New Yorkers should not be prevented from accessing health care because of a broken federal immigration system. While some in Washington continue to fight against the Affordable Care Act, we are going to expand on it by providing truly universal access to care,” de Blasio annouced.
The City of New York cautions that their Direct Access program is not health insurance. For insurance coverage in this situation we recommend Inbound Immigrant coverage. This is a true insurance policy issued by the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania and administered by Seven Corners. This insurance is available nationwide and provides coverage throughout the U.S., not just in the City of New York. Just like the Direct Access program, this insurance does not require the applicant to provide information about legalization status.
The task force highlights the problem of language barrier to high quality information about health coverage options. There is a shortage of translators and non-English speaking insurance experts. Freedom Benefits also struggles with this issue since advice is offered only in English at this time. We recommend that users pose questions to OnlineNavigator service in writing using an online translation tool.