By Victoria Merlino
Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled the design for the NYC Care Card, bringing the city one step closer to enabling New Yorkers without health insurance, including 300,000 ineligible residents, to participate in a citywide universal health care initiative.
Many New Yorkers do not qualify for health insurance because they are undocumented immigrants, and Queens has the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants of any borough, according to a 2018 report by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
“In New York City, we know health care is a human right, which is why we're making that right a reality,” de Blasio said in a statement. “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.”
More than 600,000 New Yorkers currently lack health insurance, according to the city.
The health care plan, first announced earlier this year, will be available to anyone who has lived in the city for at least six months and does not have an affordable health insurance option. The NYC Care Card will guarantee members a dedicated doctor, a 24/7 customer service line, clear copays and ease of access to medications, de Blasio said.
The $100 million NYC Care program will launch first in the Bronx on August 1, and will expand to the rest of the city by 2020, the Mayor’s Office said.
“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, New York City’s health care system, in a statement.
De Blasio announced NYC Care in January, with a goal of hosting the most comprehensive health care program in the nation.