Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York, Inc., doing business as New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

June 2011

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

December 1, 2007 – March 31, 2010


Immigrants in New York, including those living here lawfully, are three times less likely to have health insurance than their American-born counterparts.

In response to this issue, New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage, a program of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY), in partnership with the New York Immigration Coalition, aimed to study strategies that would improve immigrants’ access to insurance. CIDNY undertook several activities to identify barriers to coverage and to identify ways for public and private programs to enroll non-citizens.

This project was part of a larger NYHealth Coverage Consortium that funded 10 grants to seven universities, policy institutes, and community agencies across the State to support projects that could inform State health reform efforts, offer ways to streamline enrollment in public programs, significantly reduce costs and improve quality, and test ideas for expanding coverage among small employers, sole proprietors, and self-employed people.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Identified barriers immigrants encounter such as: economic factors; legal restrictions; cultural and linguistic barriers; public agency staff failure to follow eligibility rules; and general problems navigating a complex and unfamiliar health care system.
  • Analyzed strategies for marketing insurance to immigrants.
  • Found that commercial insurers do a better job than public agencies in reaching out to immigrants.
  • Examined expansion proposals under consideration by the State.
  • Recommended policy changes to increase immigrant enrollment in public programs.

Read the report associated with this grant, “Analysis of New York State Coverage Expansion Proposals: Potential Impact on Immigrants.”