CIANA Explains: NYC Care



Obtaining health insurance in the U.S., and especially in New York City, can be expensive, complex, and unfriendly to immigrants and noncitizens. To help improve health care accessibility, NYC now offers an alternative health care program called NYC Care.


NYC Care is a health care access program which guarantees low-cost and no-cost services to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance, particularly undocumented immigrants. Available in all 5 boroughs, all NYC Care services are managed and provided through NYC Health + Hospitals.


What are the benefits of enrolling in NYC Care?

NYC Care clients receive a personal membership card which allows them to access health care at any NYC Health + Hospitals location across NYC, a list which includes 11 hospitals and dozens of community-based health centers. Clients are also able to choose their own primary care provider and get support from a full primary care team.

In terms of specific services, clients are able to access preventive care like vaccinations and routine screenings to stay healthy, as well as mental health support, substance abuse services, women’s care, eye care, and prescription medications.


NYC Care guarantees your first appointment in two weeks or less. There are also no membership fees, monthly fees, or premiums, and each person’s cost to receive health care is based on their family size and income.


Who is eligible for NYC Care?


In order to be eligible for NYC Care, you must have been living in New York City for six months or longer. You also must not qualify for any health insurance plan available in New York State, including Medicaid, and not be able to afford health insurance based on government guidelines.

Why is NYC Care ideal for undocumented immigrants?

NYC Care guarantees you full confidentiality.

The health care professionals at NYC Health + Hospitals do not record any information regarding your immigration status, and all personal information is kept 100% private. Under the Privacy Rule, a Federal law, NYC Health + Hospitals employees cannot give your information to ANYONE else without authorization by the patient or without being required to do so by a court order.


NYC Care also does not pose a risk under the “Public Charge” rule. Under the public charge rule, immigrants to the United States classified as “Likely or Liable to become a Public Charge” could be denied visas or permission to enter the country due to their lack of economic resources. On March 9, 2021, the 2019 Public Charge Rule was invalidated and is no longer in effect. Obtaining health care through NYC Care will not impact your citizenship or immigration status in any way.


NYC Care is designed to make health care low-cost and affordable.


There are no membership fees, monthly fees, or premiums for NYC Care. You pay for the services you receive based on reduced rates determined by family size and income, and cost begins at $0.


NYC Care has a comprehensive language access program.


NYC Care provides services in many languages, including written translations and in-person or telephonic interpretation. Currently, interpretation services are available in over 250 languages and dialects at NYC Health + Hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Spanish, Arabic, and Bangla are included in the language interpretations provided.


How can I enroll?

CIANA is a community based partner with NYC Health + Hospitals, and can enroll you! Call us at (718) 545-4040 or email info@cianainc.org to get started.


You can also enroll directly through NYC Health + Hospitals. Call 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-2273) to get help applying and meet with an NYC Health + Hospitals Counselor.

What Documentation do I need?


In order to enroll, you will need proof of identification, New York City residency, household income, and household size. NYC Health + Hospitals will also ask you to confirm that you’ve lived in NYC for six months or more. Proof of citizenship or immigration status is not required to enroll.


If you are unable to provide the required documents a counselor may still be able to help you enroll, so you are encouraged to call even if you aren’t sure you’re eligible.


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All New Yorkers, especially our undocumented and immigrant New Yorkers, have the right to obtain high-quality, affordable health care. NYC Care ensures citizenship concerns are no longer a barrier to health care accessibility.