Tasha Williams, left, of NYC for Action volunteered at the Get Covered New York booth Sunday in Harlem.
Today’s post comes from guest blogger Lois Uttley, of Raising Women’s Voices
Get Covered New York was out in force last weekend at events in upper Manhattan and Brooklyn.
More than 30 volunteers from NYC for Action and Greater NYC for Change neighborhood groups turned out for the final weekend of Harlem Week, a busy street fair. The Get Covered New York booth, located at the corner of 135th and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, featured handouts explaining the new coverage options becoming available through the NYS Health Benefits Exchange starting October 1. These handouts include a link to Get Covered New York’s new website, www.getcovered-newyork.org, where consumers can sign up to be notified when enrollment starts.
“It was a wonderful weekend that gave us the opportunity to talk to hundreds of uninsured people,” said Aliza Lederer-Plaskett, Community Organizer for Raising Women’s Voices-NY, who managed logistics for the events with help from Tasha Williams of NYC for Action. Get Covered New York also tabled at Bedford-Stuyvesant Pride, which took place in Brooklyn’s Herbert Von King Park and reached LGBT people.
Nearly 200 people filled out Get Covered New York postcards that will be mailed to them in September explaining how and where they can apply for the new coverage.
HCFANY launched a new campaign today to provide outreach and education to uninsured LGBT New Yorkers around the new health options that will soon be available via the New York State Health Benefit Exchange. While health statistics on LGBT populations are not yet widely collected (something we are pushing to change) experts estimate that 1 in 4 LGBT people in the state are uninsured.
The outreach campaign will be headed up by HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force to help prepare people for the health insurance choices they may need to make once enrollment on the Exchange opens on October 1st.
The campaign was kicked off by a press briefing hosted by the New York State Health Foundation to bring attention to the unique needs of LGBT New Yorkers, illustrate how the Affordable Care Act is working to address them, and to lay out next steps.
- Kellan Baker, Director, LGBT State Exchanges Project, Center for American Progress
- Megan Fisk, Director of Family Services, LGBT Community Services Center of New York
- Mark Hannay, Director, Metro New York Health Care For All Campaign
- Jonathan Lang, Director of Governmental Projects and Community
Development, Empire State Pride Agenda
- Jay Laudato, Executive Director, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
- David Sandman, Senior Vice President, New York State Health Foundation
- Lois Uttley, Director, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need
The new coverage options afforded by the ACA will benefit LGBT communities by providing wider access to affordable health care, increased data collection (which will work to inform future policy decisions), and a new ban on discrimination based on HIV status and sex, including gender identity.
The LGBT Task Force has been working with state Exchange officials to make sure that same-sex couples have the same opportunities for affordable health coverage. This includes allowing couples to pool their premium subsidies together to purchase family health plans on the Exchange.
Outreach will start at the June 30 PrideFest in Manhattan, and continue through the summer and fall.
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.
- “The Affordable Care Act: What is it & what does it mean for New York?” Elisabeth Benjamin, Community Service Society
- “Update on the New York Health Benefit Exchange,” Sara Rothstein, New York Health Benefit Exchange
- “Latino/a Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act,” Becca Telzak, Make the Road New York
Written by guest blogger Lorraine Gonzalez-Camastra, Director of Health Policy for Children’s Defense Fund-NY and HCFANY Steering Committee Member
In T minus five months, New York State will begin enrollment through its new Health Benefit Exchange. The goal on October 1st, 2013 will be to enroll as many of the 2.6 million uninsured New Yorkers as possible, and eliminate the number of children and youth who are without coverage.
However, the truth is that most New Yorkers don’t understand what health reform entails and many may not have even heard of the Health Benefit Exchange. This is more so for immigrant communities and those with English as a second language. New York prides itself on its diversity, but with rates of uninsurance among racial and ethnic minorities nearly double that of white New Yorkers, getting the word out on the Health Benefit Exchange will need to entail getting the word out in over 175 languages and dialects. 
On Friday, April 26th, HCFANY and NAM co-hosted an informational press briefing geared towards ethnic media to build understanding around the different provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the New York State Health Benefit Exchange, and what’s at stake for New York’s children and youth. Media outlets representing the Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Haitian, Filipino, Russian, and Latino communities attended the event and engaged in a dialogue about what their communities need from the Health Benefit Exchange and fellow advocates in order to guarantee that their populations are ready to enroll come October 1st. Presentations conducted by staff from the New York State Health Benefit Exchange, Community Service Society, Children’s Defense Fund NY, Make the Road NY, and the Coalition for Asian-American Children and Families detailed New York’s progress and plans for ACA implementation, as well as what advocates and stakeholders on the front lines know to be important elements of implementation for children and families in ethnic communities.