Get Covered NY reaches uninsured people at NYC PrideFest

HCFANY table at PrideFest

Raising Women’s Voices summer interns Delaine Powerful, left, and Olivia Cappello, at the Get Covered New York booth Sunday during NYC’s Pride Fest.
Today’s post comes from guest blogger Lois Uttley, of Raising Women’s Voices

Health equality for LGBT New Yorkers! That was the message Sunday at the Get Covered New York booth during NYC’s annual PrideFest celebration. Staffers and interns from Health Care for All NY (HCFANY) member organizations teamed up with volunteers from NYC for Action under the banner of Get Covered NY to bring LGBT New Yorkers the great news about new, more affordable health coverage options coming this fall. One in four LGBT New Yorkers has no health insurance, and LGBT people suffer a variety of health disparities. When the New York State Health Exchange opens for enrollment October 1, uninsured New Yorkers will be able to apply for free or low-cost coverage under an expanded Medicaid program, or financial aid to help with the cost of a private health insurance plan. “Really? I had no idea!” exclaimed one excited woman who stopped by the Get Covered NY table Sunday. LGBT New Yorkers were especially happy to learn that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under the Affordable Care Act. That means no discrimination in the New York State Exchange and in the health plans to be offered to participating insurers. HCFANY’s LGBT Task Force will be speaking to LGBT organizations around the state and tabling at community events throughout the summer and fall. If you would like to request a presentation or participation in an event, please contact

read this!This week, the State-sponsored report on how to reduce health disparities through the New York Health Benefit was released, outlining a myriad of recommendations culled from a stakeholder meeting held back in September.

These recommendations track three core themes discussed at the stakeholder meeting: 1) consumer assistance, 2) network adequacy, and 3) data collection.  Recommendations are discussed in detail based on stakeholder comments, panel presentations and research models employed in other parts of the country.  These include:

1. Consumer assistance:

  • Language access and communication assistance
  • Language accessibility guidelines for insurers
  • Plain language
  • Availability of decision-making support tools
  • Sensetivity training for consumer assistors
  • Creating Exchange website and materials that have an inclusive look and feel
  • Diverse channels for consuemr outreach
  • Selection of trusted community entities to serve as Navigators

2.  Network adequacy:

  • Sufficient number of specialists
  • Sufficient providers for AI/AN communities
  • Sufficient providers with accessibility accomodations
  • Sufficient providers with linguistic ability

3. Data collection and dissemination

  • Collection of data
  • Dissemination of data

The report is available at the State Exchange website at:


Got 5 minutes to kill? Or, maybe you are super busy but need to cleanse the ol’ mental palate? Well, the Kaiser Family Foundation just put out a nifty little quiz to test your knowledge on the uninsured.  Why not give it a try?

It’s short – 10 questions – but some of them are a little tricky.  I’m proud (and relieved) to report that this blogger got 10 out of 10 right.  So, go ahead – test your brain power! You might learn something new.  And if you don’t, well, then you can go ahead and brag about it to all of your friends. :-)

Click here to take the quiz.


Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) voted in favor of recommending to streamline and improve access to Emergency Medicaid as part of a series of proposals aimed to reduce disparities in healthcare throughout New York State.  This, along with several of these other measures, has long been a part of HCFANY’s “to-do” list.  In fact, HCFANY recently issued a memo of support to the MRT in favor of this proposal.

Along with streamlining Emergency Medicaid, the package includes proposals to:

  • streamline and improve access to Emergency Medicaid;
  • provide reimbursement to hospitals, clinics and community health centers that make language assistance services available to their limited English proficient patients (LEP);
  • ensure that prescription drug labels are easier to understand for patients with low health literacy, seniors and LEP communities, among others;
  • improve data collection on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and housing status by health providers, consistent with federal health reform;
  • eliminate discrimination against Medicaid beneficiaries at major teaching hospitals in New York State; and
  • reform the state’s distribution of charity care funding to hospitals to ensure that safety net providers who serve the uninsured are appropriately and equitably compensated.

This is great news for New York and as these proposals seek to reduce health disparities and improve access to care for people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities and LGBQT populations, among others.

But there’s still work to do on this!  In order for these proposals to take effect, they need to be included in the Governor’s upcoming budget.  Here’s what you can do to help make this happen:

  1. Contact members of the Medicaid Redesign Team and thank them for voting “yes” on the Health Disparities package of proposals.  A list of all members can be found by clicking here.
  2. Contact Governor Andrew Cuomo and tell him to put the Health Disparities package of proposals – including the “streamlinging Emergency Medicaid” proposal – into his Executive Budget.  Call the Governor at (518) 474-8390 or email him here.