Increasing Immigrant Enrollment in Public Insurance Programs Through Targeted Education, Outreach, and Direct Assistance in 10 Languages
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 15, 2007
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
Lack of health insurance among immigrant populations in New York State continues to be a critical issue.
This grant to Make the Road New York funded a training program to teach community members to be “promotoras,” which promote health in their own communities by providing leadership, peer education, links to services, and resources to support the empowerment and engagement of community residents to improve health care systems. The program also trained health advocates—paid staff of community-based organizations—to help immigrant populations navigate the health care system. These programs were designed to help the community’s hardest-to-serve populations find and access health insurance and health care.
Immigrants, refugees and their families comprise a large and growing share of New York City’s residents, with more than 100,000 international migrants annually settling in New York. Immigrants also constitute a sizable amount of New York’s uninsured. Working in partnership with 11 community-based organizations throughout New York City and Long Island, the Make The Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition will conduct an intensive outreach campaign aimed at educating immigrants about accessing insurance.
While having similar employment rates as native-born New Yorkers, immigrants are less than half as likely to receive insurance coverage through their employers, and are less likely to utilize available public insurance for which they are eligible. Widespread confusion, fear, and misinformation among the immigrant community about accessing health insurance is likely to worsen unless this population is reached by trusted sources in languages it understands.
Working in partnership with 11 community-based organizations throughout New York City and Long Island, the Make The Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition will conduct an intensive outreach campaign aimed at educating immigrants about accessing insurance. By helping to train the 11 participating community-based organizations to utilize a “promotora” or community-based peer education model that relies on spreading information through trained immigrants within the community, they plan to increase organizations’ capacity to disseminate information about insurance enrollment and accessing care. The New York Immigration Coalition and Make The Road New York will provide training and technical assistance to each of the 11 community groups, with a special focus on teaching them to maximize outreach through trained immigrant peer health educators. Each organization will conduct monthly health access presentations in its community. Through these 100+ planned educational forums, they hope to reach 3,000 immigrants and provide direct counseling assistance to at least half of those.