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THE MOST UNINSURED
Flushing-Whitestone area has most people without health care: NYC study
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
The neighborhoods of Flushing, Murray Hill and
Whitestone have the highest rate of residents without
health insurance, according to a new report published
by the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO).
Some of the city’s community districts had particularly
high shares of uninsured but little access to nearby public
hospital facilities, according to the report, “Are NYC
Health + Hospitals Facilities Located in Community
Districts With the Highest Shared of Uninsured New
Yorkers?” which mapped the location of public hospital
facilities and uninsured residents in 59 community districts.
In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch
of a new program called NYC Care, a city-funded NYC
Health + Hospital initiative expected to cost $100 million
per year when fully implemented in fiscal year 2022. The
program will serve approximately 600,000 New Yorkers
without insurance by strengthening New York City’s public
health insurance option, MetroPlus, and guaranteeing
anyone ineligible for insurance — regardless of ability to
pay and immigration status — has direct access to NYC
Health + Hospitals’ physicians, pharmacies and mental
health and substance services.
Expected to roll out in the Bronx later this summer and
across the boroughs by 2021, the new initiative aims to
link uninsured individuals with a primary care provider
in the hopes of keeping patients out of the emergency
room visits for routine care.
Overall, there were about 615,000 uninsured New
Yorkers in 2017, roughly 7 percent of the city’s population,
according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among city residents who were not U.S. citizens about
300,000, or nearly 22 percent were uninsured — and the
rate was likely even higher among non-citizens who were
undocumented, the report said.
In Queens, there is a lack of access to NYC Health +
Hospital facilities in neighborhoods with the highest
shares of uninsured residents.
Based on the report, Community District 7, which
includes Flushing, Murray Hill and Whitestone (with a
total population of 257,989), had an uninsured rate of
15.5 percent in 2017, the highest in the city. Yet, there are
no public hospitals in the district, the report said.
Additionally, the total uninsured population in the
district includes 26,315 non-citizens, according to the
Following Community District 7, other Queens
neighborhoods such as Community District 3 (Jackson
Heights and North Corona) and 4 (Elmhurst and South
Corona) also had comparatively high uninsured residents
as well as nearby public hospital facilities. More than 14
percent of residents Queens Community Districts 3 and
4 were without insurance, according to the report.
Neighborhoods with comparatively lower rates of
uninsured residents include Manhattan’s Community
District 3 (Chinatown and the Lower East Side, 6.0 percent
uninsured) and Community Districts 1 and 2 in
the Bronx (Hunts Point, Longwood, and Melrose with
9.3 percent) served by a number of NYC Health + Hospitals