Nonprofit health insurer shows its appreciation for Queens neighborhoods

Healthfirst and community members enjoy music and family- fun activities at the community office in Ridgewood. (Photo by Vincent Villafane)

Healthfirst, a nonprofit health insurer in New York, has been serving the state for 30 years now, and recently celebrated the achievement by honoring its roots in communities like Ridgewood. 

The nonprofit held an event in Ridgewood on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Healthfirst’s community office at 56-29 Myrtle Ave., in partnership with the Hispanic Federation. More than 400 people attended the event, where members were treated to music, refreshments and activities, while discussing the importance of serving the Ridgewood community. 

“Ridgewood is an important neighborhood to Healthfirst. We have a very active membership base here,” said Ricky Pafundi, vice president of retention and customer loyalty at Healthfirst. “Because Healthfirst knows the communities it serves, each event, like this one, was specially curated to reflect the needs and interests of the people who live here. 

“This includes teaming up with local organizations that are embedded in the area, such as the Hispanic Federation so that we can ensure members of the community not only get the access to health care that they need, but also know about community resources available to them.”

The event in Ridgewood was one out of many local events taking place in September. Events will also be held at Healthfirst offices in Flushing, Jackson Heights, as well as locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn to show each community its appreciation. 

“September Member Appreciation Month gives us yet another opportunity to connect with our members in a meaningful way and to remind them that we’re right here in their neighborhood to help them with health insurance needs as well as connect them with the local community and social services they need to live a healthier, happier life,” Pafundi said. 

Pafundi also mentioned that Healthfirst is unique from other insurers because their members live, work and truly understand the communities they serve. 

“Also, Healthfirst has strong relationships with community healthcare providers across the neighborhoods of New York,” Pafundi said. “It is important for our members not only to be able to access care where it is convenient for them, but also from doctors that reflect their community and can provide culturally sensitive care. Our deep connections with providers allow us to bring important and relevant health care and education to our members where they live.”

Frankie Miranda, president and CEO of Hispanic Federation, said that his community faces a higher rate of chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. So, having an insurer you can trust is essential, especially as these illnesses have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Hispanic Federation is proud to partner with Healthfirst to help provide increased access not only to quality healthcare but also other essential services that help reduce health disparities,” Miranda said. 

Throughout the month, health seminars centered around mental health will be hosted in community offices by local healthcare professionals. 

For more information about the event activities and times, visit the Healthfirst Facebook events page.

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