By Priscilla Bustamante
In 2010 an estimated 19% of employed New York City residents had no health insurance coverage. Parents trying to buy their own health coverage in the private market found it extremely unaffordable, as much as $13,000 per year for a family of three. As a result of a lack of affordable health care, health disparities are soaring. For example, Black women die at a rate seven times higher during childbirth than White women. The meeting I attended on Tuesday morning, hosted by Health Care for All New York, addressed these alarming statistics. Lois Uttley, co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices and President of Public Health Association of NYC, spoke about the new Affordable Care Act under which an “exchange” of affordable health care options will be created.
The new Health Insurance Exchange will create a marketplace where approved health insurance plans will be offered. This legislation will offer consumers and small businesses good health insurance choices, as well as provide subsidies for people with moderate incomes. For BYMC members, Health Exchange benefits will include preventative services such as pap smears, mammograms, STI screenings, contraceptive services, domestic violence counseling, prenatal and maternity care, and breastfeeding support services. Because the exchange will increase access to affordable health insurance, an estimated 1.1 million New Yorkers will gain coverage.