The neighborhoods of Flushing, Murray Hill and Whitestone have the highest rate of residents without health insurance, according to a new report published by the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO).
Some of the city’s community districts had particularly high shares of uninsured but little access to nearby public hospital facilities, according to the report, “Are NYC Health + Hospitals Facilities Located in Community Districts With the Highest Shared of Uninsured New Yorkers?” which mapped the location of public hospital facilities and uninsured residents in 59 community districts.
In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of a new program called NYC Care, a city-funded NYC Health + Hospital initiative expected to cost $100 million per year when fully implemented in fiscal year 2022. The program will serve approximately 600,000 New Yorkers without insurance by strengthening New York City’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus, and guaranteeing anyone ineligible for insurance — regardless of ability to pay and immigration status — has direct access to NYC Health + Hospitals’ physicians, pharmacies and mental health and substance services.
Expected to roll out in the Bronx later this summer and across the boroughs by 2021, the new initiative aims to link uninsured individuals with a primary care provider in the hopes of keeping patients out of the emergency room visits for routine care.
Overall, there were about 615,000 uninsured New Yorkers in 2017, roughly 7 percent of the city’s population, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Among city residents who were not U.S. citizens about 300,000, or nearly 22 percent were uninsured — and the rate was likely even higher among non-citizens who were undocumented, the report said.
In Queens, there is a lack of access to NYC Health + Hospital facilities in neighborhoods with the highest shares of uninsured residents.
Based on the report, Community District 7, which includes Flushing, Murray Hill and Whitestone (with a total population of 257,989), had an uninsured rate of 15.5 percent in 2017, the highest in the city. Yet, there are no public hospitals in the district, the report said.
Additionally, the total uninsured population in the district includes 26,315 non-citizens, according to the report.
Following Community District 7, other Queens neighborhoods such as Community District 3 (Jackson Heights and North Corona) and 4 (Elmhurst and South Corona) also had comparatively high uninsured residents as well as nearby public hospital facilities. More than 14 percent of residents Queens Community Districts 3 and 4 were without insurance, according to the report.
Neighborhoods with comparatively lower rates of uninsured residents include Manhattan’s Community District 3 (Chinatown and the Lower East Side, 6.0 percent uninsured) and Community Districts 1 and 2 in the Bronx (Hunts Point, Longwood, and Melrose with 9.3 percent) served by a number of NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.