NYC Health + Hospitals’ NYC Care Program Joins City and State Agencies to Mobilize Citywide to Spread the Word About Medicaid Expansion for Undocumented Older New Yorkers Apr 4, 2024

City Held Outreach Events in All Five Boroughs in Recognition of National Public Health Week, Aiming to Enroll Income-Eligible Undocumented New Yorkers Age 65+

In honor of National Public Health Week, City and State agencies led a Citywide Day of Action to encourage undocumented New Yorkers aged 65 and older to enroll in a newly expanded Medicaid-managed care insurance plan. As of January 1st, Medicaid was expanded to include undocumented older adults who are income-eligible in New York State. Previously, insurance for undocumented older residents was limited to coverage for medical emergency visits. Photos and videos from today’s event are available via WeTransfer and Google Drive.

To reach undocumented New Yorkers who may qualify, the NYC Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit and NYC Care staff and their affiliate partners disseminated flyers in multiple languages in neighborhoods across the City with large immigrant populations. Older Adult Centers across the City and other partner locations have also shared information about the expansion with community members. In addition to the on-the-ground outreach, City and State agencies launched a social media campaign to amplify the message.  

New Yorkers who may qualify can connect with the Public Engagement Unit’s GetCoveredNYC program or go directly to an NYC Health Department Site to enroll. Those already enrolled in the Emergency Medicaid program will be automatically transferred to this expanded coverage and will have an opportunity to choose a new plan. More information can be found at

NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to reducing barriers to care, empowering New Yorkers to live their healthiest lives. The Health System strongly supports Coverage for All, expanding eligibility for the Essential Plan to extend coverage to individuals who are not currently eligible for health insurance due to their immigration status.

“The expansion of Medicaid to undocumented New Yorkers aged 65 and older is a pivotal step forward for more equitable public health in our City,” said Adrienne Lever, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “I am proud of the dedicated efforts of our City, State, and community partners in ensuring that older adults, regardless of immigration status, get the care they deserve. Through the Public Engagement Unit’s strategic outreach, we’re breaking down barriers to health insurance access for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

“Previously, undocumented elderly living in New York have been limited to receiving Medicaid only in emergency situations, which hinders effective population health management for one of our most vulnerable populations,” said Amir Bassiri, New York State Medicaid Director.  “This expansion is core to our commitment to addressing health disparities and advancing health equity strategy.”

“Undocumented adults are more likely to work jobs that don’t provide health benefits and have historically faced eligibility restrictions for public programs, forcing them to forgo preventive services and screenings, and rely on costly emergency room care as their only option,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “This Medicaid expansion is pivotal in New York’s goal of reducing health disparities by allowing the state to provide access to quality, affordable health insurance to our more vulnerable, elderly population – regardless of income or immigration status.” 

“This expansion of Medicaid eligibility for immigrants in New York is the State’s recognition of the importance of health care equity, particularly for those who are 65 and older. This critical step aligns with the City’s ongoing efforts for an age-inclusive and healthy NYC,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “The Department for the Aging stands ready to support the State’s efforts in engaging, educating, and enrolling immigrant older adults to access this unique health benefit.”

“As a primary care physician, I am thrilled to support the city-wide effort to inform older New Yorkers of the Medicaid Expansion, connecting them to quality, affordable health insurance. Whether someone is treating a chronic condition or going in for a routine check-up with their primary care provider, they will all benefit from the peace of mind in knowing they now have coverage regardless of income level or immigration status,” said Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH, Executive Director of NYC Care at NYC Health + Hospitals. “I thank our partners in government and the community, and our network of volunteers, for their commitment to reducing health inequities and supporting the development of vibrant, healthy communities.”

“Healthcare is a human right and in New York City we recognize that everyone deserves access to quality care regardless of immigration status,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of these benefits and sign up today, because there is no path to healthier, longer lives for ALL New Yorkers that doesn’t have sustainable, affordable, accessible healthcare at the core.”

“There’s no better way to honor National Public Health Week than by joining forces with our City and State partners to help connect older undocumented New Yorkers to a more comprehensive Medicaid-managed insurance plan that will ensure they can access the primary and preventive care they need to stay healthy,” said Audrey Diop, Managing Executive Director of HRA Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access. “HRA’s Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access is committed to expanding access to health insurance across New York City, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with our partners to do just that during this Citywide Day of Action.”

“On this National Public Health Week, I am very proud that our City is hosting a Citywide Medicaid Expansion Day of Action,” said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “In 2022, as Chair of the Senate Health Committee and as a Bronxite, I fought hard to include this measure in our state budget to expand access to healthcare coverage for our undocumented seniors 65 years and older. I strongly believe that it is in the best interest of our State to reinvest in our healthcare system instead of austerity and disinvestment. We must champion common sense public health policies that keep New Yorkers healthy and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to sign up for Medicaid to ensure that they can access the care they deserve.”




About NYC Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit:
The NYC Public Engagement Unit (PEU) was created to develop a new model for government outreach, using community organizing principles to re-envision how the City provides services to its most vulnerable communities. Rather than expecting constituents to navigate a complex City bureaucracy to get the help they need, PEU adopts grassroots tactics to meet residents where they are – at their doors and on their phones, in their social media feeds, and in their communities. We marry this proactive outreach with comprehensive case management to provide New Yorkers with personalized, passionate care. GetCoveredNYC is a PEU program that provides free assistance for New Yorkers seeking to enroll in health care, regardless of immigration status or income. Our Specialists speak more than 20 languages and conduct outreach to proactively identify uninsured New Yorkers and help them get access to health care and other health-related benefits. For more information, visit and stay connected on Facebook at or Twitter at @MayorsPEU.

About NYC Care:
NYC Care is a health care access program that provides comprehensive and low or no-cost healthcare services through NYC Health + Hospitals for New Yorkers who cannot afford or are ineligible for health insurance. NYC Care provides a membership card, 24/7 customer service, access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare services, like primary care, mental health services, and sexual and reproductive healthcare, low-cost medications, and member materials in multiple languages – regardless of your immigration status or ability to pay. Call 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-2273) or visit NYCCare.NYC to learn more and sign up today – privacy and confidentiality guaranteed.

About NYC Health + Hospitals:
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
With more than 6,000 staff across the five boroughs, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) is one of the largest public health agencies in the world. The agency works to protect and promote the health of 8 million New Yorkers. The Office of Health Insurance Services Unit at the NYC Health Department, helps connect uninsured New Yorkers to health insurance options and enroll them into coverage. The NYC Health Department’s enrollment counselors provide enrollment services in multiple languages at Health Department health centers throughout NYC.

About NY State of Health:
New York opened its health plan Marketplace, NY State of Health, in October 2013.  The Marketplace’s one-stop health insurance shopping experience offers high-quality comprehensive health plans.  NY State of Health is the only place where consumers can qualify to get help paying for coverage through premium discounts or tax credits.  Eligible New Yorkers can also enroll in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and the Essential Plan through the Marketplace all year.  For more information about the NY State of Health Marketplace, please visit or call Customer Service at 1-855-355-5777, (TTY: 1-800-662-1220), or find an enrollment assistor.

About The Department for the Aging:
The Department for the Aging’s (NYC Aging) mission is to eliminate ageism and create a community-care approach that allows residents to live the quality of life they deserve. Through a network of over 400 older adult centers and naturally occurring retirement communities, support, and services are provided that allow the nearly 1.8 million older New Yorkers to continue living independently in their communities. 

About the Department of Social Services (DSS):
The Department of Social Services, comprised of the Human Resources Administration (HRA) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), serves millions of New Yorkers annually through a broad range of services that aim to address poverty, income inequality, and prevent homelessness. HRA serves over three million New Yorkers through the administration of more than 15 major public assistance programs. DHS oversees a broad network of shelters, services, and outreach programs dedicated to helping New Yorkers experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. DSS is central to the City’s mission to expand opportunity for more New Yorkers, address income inequality, help New Yorkers experiencing homelessness stabilize their lives, and ensure that vulnerable New Yorkers receive the benefits and assistance for which they may be eligible.

About the NYC HRA/DSS Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access:
The NYC Human Resources Administration Department of Social Services Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access’s (OCHIA) mission is to improve access to health insurance for all New Yorkers. OCHIA works to connect New York City residents and small business owners to coverage and care. OCHIA helps people over 65 years old, living with a disability, or visually impairment enroll in Medicaid programs.  We deliver outreach, education, and presentations on public and private health insurance as well as conduct policy research and analysis to inform our efforts and help improve access to coverage for all New Yorkers.

OCHIA partners with public and private organizations to make health insurance enrollment assistance available on-site at city offices and events in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. OCHIA serves all New Yorkers, with a special focus on persons least likely to have health insurance, including immigrants, freelancers, small business owners and workers, and young adults.