ILION, N.Y. – Residents dealing with insufficient insurance or none at all may face a range of barriers, including the ability to handle the paperwork required to obtain the necessary coverage or simply not being informed what options are available.
On Tuesday, the New York State Wide Senior Action Council, Inc., worked to find out how to address these issues through a meeting with local residents impacted by their lack of coverage. The meeting included a video presentation by Peter Newell, director of the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, Inc., who spoke about a report titled “Reaching the Five Percent,” which refers to the number of people who are not insured.
According to the report, about 1.1 million New Yorkers lack insurance coverage though the federal Affordable Care Act and are eligible for free or low-cost coverage through public programs such as Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan.
Gail Myers, the council’s deputy director, said during an interview Tuesday that a grant from the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York funded the study for a county-by-county look throughout Western and Central New York about the issue.
“This is a picture of Herkimer [County] and how it relates to the rest of Central New York and how it relates to the New York State as a whole,” Myers said about the section that pertains to Herkimer County.
According to a summary included in the report, Herkimer County is the region’s second-smallest county following Cortland County. It has a lower poverty rate than all but one county but has the highest uninsured rate at 6.63 percent. The report also found that Herkimer County had a rate of uninsured children at 5.36 percent, which is double the state average.
Myers said some of the things the council wants to learn are whether there is a systemic problem, if lobbying is needed on the legislative level, or if there needs to be more of an effort to get the information to those who need it. The council also wants to learn about the high rate of children that are uninsured in the county and how to effectively help these individuals.
The report covers several other counties throughout the region, including Oneida, Madison, Onondaga and Cayuga. For more information, go to www.nysenior.org.