New York State Health Foundation

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Grantee Spotlight: Connecting Undocumented New Yorkers to Coverage

  • By: NYSHealth
  • Date: November 2017
  • Priority Area: Expanding Health Care Coverage
  • Type: Resources
  • Category: Video

Overview

With NYSHealth support, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) embarked on a public education campaign in 2016—the largest effort in the United States of its kind—to raise awareness among the tens of thousands of Medicaid-eligible immigrants living in New York City and connect them to health insurance. In this Grantee Spotlight Q&A, NYSHealth Program Officer Amy Shefrin and MOIA Deputy Director of Policy Sam Solomon discuss the campaign and its impact, the benefits in having more immigrants covered under health insurance, and the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding DACA’s future.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has given hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants living in the United States an opportunity to legally work and study without fear of deportation. Established by an executive action in 2012, DACA provides employment authorization, temporary protection from deportation, and a Social Security number to work and pay taxes for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before the age of 16 years and who have been in the country for at least five years. New York State is one of the few states that also provides a pathway to health insurance for DACA recipients by allowing those who are income-eligible to qualify for Medicaid. However, many DACA recipients and potential DACA applicants have been unaware of this option and have gone uninsured. 

MOIA's public education campaign increased awareness of Medicaid eligiblity and enrollment, reaching thousands of immigrants in New York City. Watch the following Q&A segments to learn more: 

Do immigrants have access to Obamacare and health insurance coverage?

What is DACA, and how is it a path for health insurance in New York?

What was the campaign to reach immigrant youth in New York City? 

How has the campaign been sustained?

What is the impact on our health care system when immigrants do not have health insurance?

What effect has the uncertainty over the future of DACA had in New York?

What are some opportunities to support this work in the future?