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Nearly Quarter Of Jackson Heights/Corona Residents Lack Health Insurance: Comptroller

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Nov. 12, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

Jackson Heights and Corona have among the highest percentages Citywide of residents lacking health insurance, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Stringer released data Monday indicating that the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst/Corona each have uninsured rates of 22.2 percent – the second highest rate in the City after Sunnywide/Woodside (22.5 percent).

“This report confirms what we have suspected all along: that Jackson Heights is very much undeserved and that people use Elmhurst Hospital as a doctor’s office, which creates many issues at the hospital itself,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said.

Citywide, 11.4 percent of New Yorkers are living without health insurance, according to 2014 Census data collected by Stringer. This figure continues a downward trend and marks the first time the overall number of uninsured people has dropped below 1 million in the past five years, according to Stringer.

However, Stringer noted, “the situation is particularly dire in neighborhoods with large immigrant and younger populations,” citing in particular Jackson Heights and Corona.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland touched on this issue as well.

“It’s important to understand that residents of Corona sit at a unique intersection and face many challenges when it comes to obtaining healthcare and insurance,” she said in response to Stringer’s findings. “Over 60 percent are foreign-born, which commonly means there is a language barrier; over 50 percent are low-income and cannot always afford their own health insurance; and many work jobs that are off the books so they don’t have the opportunity to get insurance through an employer.”

She added that many undocumented residents are fearful of sharing personal information, including with insurance companies.

“That means we have to find more creative ways of reaching these individuals if we want to get them insured,” she said, noting her own partnerships with low-cost insurance companies to support enrollment.

Dromm added, “I will continue to work with Comptroller Stringer to advocate for the additional services we desperately need in Jackson Heights.”

The publication of Stringer’s analysis coincides with the beginning of the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, which kicked off Nov. 1.

Open enrollment runs from through Dec. 15 for coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2016. Enrollment will remain open through Jan. 31. for coverage to begin on March 1.

Health insurance enrollment information for the New York State of Health Marketplace is available online here.

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