LGBT immigrants face double challenges in getting covered

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Guest post: Lois Uttley, Director, Raising Women’s Voices – NY

All this week, HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force has been sponsoring events to reach uninsured LGBT New Yorkers with information about how to get enrolled in an affordable health insurance plan before the Feb. 15 deadline of open enrollment through the NY State of Health Marketplace.

An event on Tuesday in Jackson Heights, Queens, highlighted the fact that this is also national Latino outreach and enrollment week, and underscored the particular challenges facing LGBT New Yorkers who are also immigrants. The event was held at Voces Latinas, a NYS-certified Navigator agency that partners with the LGBT Community Center to serve the many Spanish-speaking LGBT people who live in Queens.

“Within New York City, LGBT individuals are disproportionately uninsured. These numbers increase when we factor immigration status and language barriers,” explained Nathaly Rubio-Torio, Executive Director of Voces Latinas. “Our navigators are bilingual, bicultural and fully culturally competent.”

Rubio-Torio (at left in photo) was joined at the event by (left to right in photo) NYC Council Member Danny Dromm, who represents Jackson Heights and is a member of the Council’s LGBT Caucus; Luis Scaccabarrozzi, Director of Health Policy and Advocacy for the Latino Commission on AIDS; Alexander Cortes, an enrollment specialist with Voces Latinas; and Lois Uttley, Co-Chair of HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force (not pictured).

Another of the organizations participating in this week’s events also has a special mission of serving LGBT immigrants. Make the Road NY is sponsoring an LGBT information and enrollment event this Friday night, January 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at its 301 Grove St. Brooklyn office.

This post is part of a two-part blog series on unaccompanied minors in New York. View the first post here. Last month, the Children’s Defense Fund – New York and the Health Care for All NY coalition presented two webinars on unaccompanied minors and access to health services.  The full recordings and materials for Unaccompanied Minors and Health Care Access and Unaccompanied Minors and Behavioral Health Services are available at the HCFANY website.


Lorraine

 

 

Guest Post: Lorraine Gonzalez-Camastra, Director of Health Policy,
Children’s Defense Fund – NY

The United States is making steady progress in reducing the number of uninsured Hispanic children, even as the total population of Hispanic children grows, according to a report recently released by Georgetown Center for Children and Families. Since 2009, the number of Hispanic children who are uninsured has dropped by more than half a million, while the total number of Hispanic children grew by more than a million. New York is one of three states nationally that has rates of uninsured Hispanic children that are well below the national average. While this is a huge accomplishment, it is important to consider how the recent surge in unaccompanied children nationally, and in New York State, might impact uninsurance rates. These children will need to be connected to a means for health insurance coverage to avoid an uptick in the uninsurance rate for Hispanics nationally and in New York State, specifically.

In response to the latest surge of unaccompanied children who have arrived in New York State, mainly populating the downstate region, the New York City Council, in partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation and New York Community Trust, has secured resources for legal services to represent these children at immigration and deportation proceedings. Additionally, the Council and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs have also begun to organize an accessible pathway to social service supports for these children/youth on-site at the federal immigration court in New York City. Most concretely, Mayor de Blasio’s administration has created a resource directory for the unaccompanied minor population so that front-line workers can direct children and families to appropriate support services.

New York State reflects a very diverse demographic.  It can be daunting for newly immigrated families to become acculturated to Americanized social service systems that offer health care, education, and other supports. For children who arrive unaccompanied, the experience can be all the more intimidating.

It is essential that city and state officials employ social service policies that are user-friendly by children and families, especially new immigrants. In New York City and State, we have worked to gain some successes in this area. Moving ahead, we must continue to keep pace with the rising demand of Hispanic and other ethnicities entering our local communities.

Want to learn more? Visit the HCFANY webinars available here and here.

twitter chat NYCMany of you already follow us on Twitter (@hcfany) to get the latest health care updates in New York State and follow our advocacy efforts. If you don’t already, now is a good time to start!

HCFANY is co-hosting a Twitter chat with MomsRising and U.S. Representative Charles Rangel tomorrow. We’ll be talking about healthcare resources for New Yorkers, with a special focus on the Basic Health Program.

DATE: Wednesday, April 23rd

TIME: 2-3pm ET / 11am-12pm PT

WHERE: On Twitter with the hashtag #WellnessWed

WHO: @HCFANY, @MomsRising, @cbrangel, & YOU

The Basic Health Program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, gives states the option to provide more affordable, public health coverage to lower-income people whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid. The New York State legislature recently approved a Basic Health Program in this year’s budget. This is great news for working New Yorkers who struggle to pay the cost of health insurance while juggling rent, utilities and other bills. It’s also good news for our State’s fiscal outlook – the program is projected to save New York $300 million per year once it’s implemented. This is partly because New York State already uses State funds to cover some New Yorkers who will be eligible for the new, mostly federally funded program (e.g. lawfully present immigrants under 138% FPL).

Want to learn more? Have something to add about the Basic Health Program in New York? Make sure to follow @hcfany and #WellnessWed to participate in the conversation. Join in and share your questions, stories, resources and more!

 

 

 

Since most (all?) of our readers are not members of the press, I thought I would share some more resources from last week’s HCFANY press briefing.  Posted above is a video put together by the good folks at New American Media, who co-hosted the event.  Click below for copies of the presentations from the event.