New York’s uninsured rate in 2021, the last year where...

New York’s uninsured rate in 2021, the last year where census data are available, remained below the national average of 8.6% and tied with Connecticut for 10th lowest. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/jwblinn

The percentage of New Yorkers without health insurance fell by about half between 2010 and 2021, though class and racial disparities persisted, according to a new state analysis.

Enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans and continuous enrollment in state public health insurance programs such as Medicaid all contributed to a decline from nearly 12% in 2010 to 5.2% just over a decade later, the analysis released Wednesday by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli showed. New York’s uninsured rate in 2021, the last year where census data are available, remained below the national average of 8.6% and tied with Connecticut for 10th lowest, according to the report.

Wendy Darwell, president and CEO of the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, said New York has fared better than other states in part because of its involvement in programs under the ACA — expansion of Medicaid to people with higher incomes and development of the Essential Plan, a lower-cost insurance option for people who qualify.

“So, there's a whole category of coverage now … that’s really been successful in closing the gap in New York,” Darwell said.

But Darwell also noted that there are potential obstacles remaining. Critical health care, like breast cancer screenings and other preventive measures, can be lost with a policy change.

For instance, a coronavirus-related policy that allowed many people on state public health insurance such as Medicaid or the Essential Plan to have continuous enrollment is now being unwound. Millions of people statewide will have to recertify to keep that insurance. Early figures show that many people already have.

In June, there were 8 million people in New York enrolled in Medicaid. DiNapoli’s office said in July that the Medicaid enrollment is projected to decrease to 6.9 million by April 2024, according to the Division of Budget.

The uninsured rate among Black, white, Asian and Latino New Yorkers also declined by more than half, the analysis found. Yet, 3% of white residents didn’t have health coverage, among Hispanic New Yorkers, the rate was 10%. For Black and Asian residents, it was 6%.

Although uninsured rates decreased by around half for all income groups between 2010 and 2021, the report said, households with incomes between $25,000 and $49,000 had the highest uninsured rates. The report did not specify the reason.

Colin Pearsall, executive director of Patchogue-based nonprofit Project Safety Net NY, said health insurance is just an entry point to getting health care.

Project Safety Net NY staffers have traveled across Long Island to provide services such as testing for HIV and coordinating food and Medicaid services for people with multiple chronic diseases.

But all too often, he said, residents might have insurance but have transportation, language or other barriers.

“Health care is not just doctors. It's not just psychiatrists. It's not just pharmacists. Health care is the ZIP code that you live in. What is your access to those sorts of resources?” he said. 

The percentage of New Yorkers without health insurance fell by about half between 2010 and 2021, though class and racial disparities persisted, according to a new state analysis.

Enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans and continuous enrollment in state public health insurance programs such as Medicaid all contributed to a decline from nearly 12% in 2010 to 5.2% just over a decade later, the analysis released Wednesday by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli showed. New York’s uninsured rate in 2021, the last year where census data are available, remained below the national average of 8.6% and tied with Connecticut for 10th lowest, according to the report.

Wendy Darwell, president and CEO of the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, said New York has fared better than other states in part because of its involvement in programs under the ACA — expansion of Medicaid to people with higher incomes and development of the Essential Plan, a lower-cost insurance option for people who qualify.

“So, there's a whole category of coverage now … that’s really been successful in closing the gap in New York,” Darwell said.

But Darwell also noted that there are potential obstacles remaining. Critical health care, like breast cancer screenings and other preventive measures, can be lost with a policy change.

For instance, a coronavirus-related policy that allowed many people on state public health insurance such as Medicaid or the Essential Plan to have continuous enrollment is now being unwound. Millions of people statewide will have to recertify to keep that insurance. Early figures show that many people already have.

In June, there were 8 million people in New York enrolled in Medicaid. DiNapoli’s office said in July that the Medicaid enrollment is projected to decrease to 6.9 million by April 2024, according to the Division of Budget.

The uninsured rate among Black, white, Asian and Latino New Yorkers also declined by more than half, the analysis found. Yet, 3% of white residents didn’t have health coverage, among Hispanic New Yorkers, the rate was 10%. For Black and Asian residents, it was 6%.

Although uninsured rates decreased by around half for all income groups between 2010 and 2021, the report said, households with incomes between $25,000 and $49,000 had the highest uninsured rates. The report did not specify the reason.

Colin Pearsall, executive director of Patchogue-based nonprofit Project Safety Net NY, said health insurance is just an entry point to getting health care.

Project Safety Net NY staffers have traveled across Long Island to provide services such as testing for HIV and coordinating food and Medicaid services for people with multiple chronic diseases.

But all too often, he said, residents might have insurance but have transportation, language or other barriers.

“Health care is not just doctors. It's not just psychiatrists. It's not just pharmacists. Health care is the ZIP code that you live in. What is your access to those sorts of resources?” he said. 

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