Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Open This Envelope, Stay Covered

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

November 15, 2007








One key battle in addressing the number of uninsured is getting people who are eligible for public health insurance programs to enroll in them.

Another is keeping them enrolled. Involuntary disenrollment from public health insurance coverage is an ongoing problem for all beneficiaries, but is particularly problematic for Chinese non-English speakers. This grant funded a public awareness campaign to help Chinese beneficiaries recognize re-enrollment materials when they arrived in the mail, understand the materials’ importance, and continue their health insurance coverage.

Sizeable numbers of New York’s public insurance beneficiaries lose their coverage at the time of recertification. The Public Health Solutions’ “Open This Envelope, Stay Covered” campaign is aimed at helping Chinese-speaking residents of Flushing, Queens, maintain their coverage.

“Churning,” or involuntary disenrollment from coverage, is a particular problem for Chinese non-English speakers who are currently 12% more likely than other enrollees to lose their benefits. In part, this is because insurance renewal forms are available only in English and Spanish, leaving many Chinese families unable to read or recognize important re-enrollment materials when they arrive in the mail.

Public Health Solutions’ (formerly The Medical and Health Research Association of NYC, Inc.[MHRA]) campaign is aimed at remedying this problem. Flushing is the second largest immigrant community in New York City, with nearly 90,000 foreign-born residents—almost a third of whom are Asian. It includes the largest ethnic Chinese community in the New York metropolitan area. The campaign will include translation of reapplication documents into Chinese, community outreach with local retailers, doctors, pharmacies, banks, schools, and houses of worship, ad placements in key Chinese media outlets (including the three largest Chinese newspapers), and the establishment of a renewal assistance hotline staffed by bilingual health insurance enrollers (this part of the project will continue to be funded by Public Health Solutions’ facilitated enrollment grant). The trademark “Open This Envelope, Stay Covered” design will be repeated throughout all materials to trigger understanding of the need to open mailed renewal materials. Together, these efforts are expected to result in 1,200 community residents successfully retaining their coverage.