Friday, December 3

NYC Care Nearing 100,000 Members

If you or someone you know would like more information about NYC Care or to enroll, visit or call 1-646-NYC-CARE (1-646-692-2273).

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Maura had chest pain that started years ago and persisted through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With her long family history of cancer, Maura feared the worst and knew she needed a breast cancer screening, but due to her immigration status, she lacked access to health resources. Her husband, who is involved in a community-based organization (CBO) called New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), told him about NYC Care. NICE staff helped Maura enroll in the city-funded program. From there, he was assigned a primary care physician at a NYC Health + Hospitals facility, a membership card showing the low cost of services, and access to dedicated 24-hour customer service. Maura is currently getting regular cancer screenings.

Maura is one of thousands of members who benefit from NYC Care.

NYC Care is the largest healthcare access program in the country, providing low-cost or no-cost comprehensive health services to New Yorkers who are ineligible or unable to afford health insurance. Over the past two years, NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) have partnered with community organizations in all five boroughs to encourage New York immigrants to claim their right to medical care. Through its relentless advocacy, the program surpassed its initial goal of 50,000 members and is approaching 100,000 active members.

Thanks to NYC Care, the city is leading the nation in recognizing health as a human right. Even before the pandemic, the program provided vital access to women’s health and other specialized services, including surveillance and prevention of long-term complications of diabetes.[1] and other chronic diseases[2].

But in March 2020, our world was turned upside down when New York City became the epicenter of a global pandemic. COVID-19 devastated our communities and exposed painful disparities within non-white and immigrant communities, including unequal access to health care. Our mission to provide quality, affordable healthcare to every New Yorker has never felt more urgent.

NYC Care immediately contacted its partners to support remote outreach and access to COVID-19 testing. We also include in our services better access to telehealth. Since March 2020, NYC Care has made nearly 200,000 telehealth appointments with its members. Since the program began, members have had more than 500,000 primary and specialty care appointments.

Unfortunately, we know that many New York immigrants are hesitant to receive the care they deserve, as many have put off seeing a primary care provider during the pandemic.

That is why we are encouraging everyone in the five boroughs to join our effort and reach 100,000 members. Enrollment of 100,000 active members means thousands of New Yorkers, like Maura, will have sustainable access to affordable and critical healthcare.

In the past two years, we have collectively seen the importance of our public health system in New York. We are now at a tipping point regarding COVID-19, and with more New Yorkers vaccinated, we expect the light at the end of the tunnel to be close. But working to ensure that every New Yorker, regardless of immigration status, claims their right to health care requires all of us to participate.

If you or someone you know would like more information about NYC Care or to enroll, visit or call 1-646-NYC-CARE (1-646-692-2273).

Kress is the Executive Director of NYC Care at NYC Health + Hospitals and Batista is the Mayor’s Office Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs.

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