If you or a loved one need urgent medical attention, go to the nearest public hospital or call 911 if necessary, regardless of your insurance and immigration status. Find a hospital here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
For the most up-to-date information on how to stay healthy, how to protect yourself and your family, and what to do if you think you are sick, please visit the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 info page.
Patients of the Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture
During this time, resources have been redirected to areas that are in critical need. In order to schedule a non-urgent telephonic visit with a medical provider, either call 212-562-5555 or the NYC Health and Hospitals hotline 1-844-692-4692. Request an interpreter in any language. Some providers and departments may not be available at this time even for telephonic visits.
If your request is only for medication refills, please call 212-562-3011 and leave a voicemail with your name and date of birth, and details of the medication you need to be refilled.
If your PCP is with the Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture Clinic and you still have trouble after attempting these other resources, please send an email to email@example.com and we will respond as soon as possible. See the PSOT website for more information.
Read more here on how to access care at Bellevue and public hospitals in New York City
Watch this video from NBC Today on Bellevue Hospital’s response to COVID-19.
If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat. You may be infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms, and can still infect others. This is one reason it is extremely important to stay home as much as possible and practice caution when you must go outside.
When and how to seek medical help: Not everyone who has COVID-19 will need to be hospitalized. In most cases, the best course of action is to stay home and self-isolate. Use the CDC’s Self-Checker tool or read NYC’s COVID-19 Factsheet, available in many languages, for medical advice. Call the New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065. Contact your medical provider directly, and if you don’t have one call New York City Health and Hospitals at 1-844-692-4692.
Before going to any facility, call ahead to let them know you are coming, so they can share with you their protocol to keep everyone as safe as possible. This is good practice for anywhere you have to go during a state of emergency.
Insurance and paying for medical bills:
Asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees (along with some other trauma relief-based statuses) are not subject to the public charge test. Speak with your lawyer or legal representative about how public charge will affect your immigration case. Please see the “Public Charge” section below for USCIS’s official response to COVID-19 and more details.
Public charge DOES NOT include New York State Medicaid, NYC Cares, Essential Plans, nor NYC H+H Options (fee-coding plans at NYC public hospitals). Federal Medicaid CAN be counted against you in a test of public charge.
If you are already covered by medical insurance, learn about COVID-19-related changes or updates to your benefits directly on your insurance provider’s website or through their help line.
COVID-19 insurance and cost:
If you need to seek medical care, do so regardless of your insurance or immigration status.
Testing for COVID-19 is free.
Visit your health insurance company’s website directly to read about your personal coverage plan in detail, and see which additions or modifications they may have made for COVID-19. Many insurance plans accept to cover initial screening appointments for COVID-19, and differ in whether they continue to pay for any further treatment related to COVID-19.
If you were recently told that you must wait until the end of the year/”Open Enrollment” to apply for insurance coverage, this has changed due to COVID-19, and all New Yorkers can and are encouraged to apply for insurance in a Special Enrollment Period from now until May 15, 2020. See how at the beginning of the Insurance section here.
The New York State Department of Financial Services requires insurance companies to waive co-pay fees for telephonic/telemedicine visits, a visit with a healthcare provider via phone call or video. This is a way to have your questions answered while keeping yourself and others safe. See directions above on how to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.
Use the scenarios below to help you navigate your next steps when applying for health insurance:
Applying For Health Insurance: Scenario 1
I have a work permit and social security number /OR/ I have proof (such as an Acknowledgment of Receipt) that I have a pending application with USCIS.
You are an eligible immigrant, or PRUCOL, in NYC, and should enroll in health insurance through New York State of Health as soon as possible. Call the helpline at 1-855-355-5777 (TTY 1-800-662-1220) or visit their website. Help is available in multiple languages. Unless you have specified another form or contact, such as email, the New York State of Health will communicate via post with you, so make sure you can receive mail to your address and are checking it frequently.
New Jersey residents have different eligibility requirements to meet and must go through the State of New Jersey. Call 1-800-701-0710 (TTY: 1-800-701-0720), or visit the website to enroll. New Jersey residents are categorically not eligible for New York State insurance.
If you receive a bill, even if you think it was sent to you in error, you must address it. It can impact you in the future if you ignore any bill. You should contact the appropriate hospital, your insurance provider, or the corresponding state’s Medicaid helpline.
Applying For Health Insurance: Scenario 2
I am undocumented and do not have a work permit nor social security card
Any New Yorker who needs urgent medical attention should go to the nearest public hospital or call 911. Find the hospital in your neighborhood here.
NYC Health and Hospitals, the public hospital system in New York City, has reasonable payment options for individuals who are undocumented or otherwise do not have a work permit nor social security number. This is available to New York City residents all the time, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, you will have to be screened for Emergency Medicaid. Emergency Medicaid as its name suggests covers emergencies, like an emergency room visit, and may some subsequent visits related to the emergency. An Emergency Medicaid application may have been completed for you when you received emergency services, or can be completed after you have received a bill, and in some scenarios family members may apply on an individual’s behalf. Immigration status is NOT one of the criteria for determining eligibility. For more information on how to apply, visit their website. Unless otherwise specified, communications about your Emergency Medicaid claim are sent by post.
You can file or check on your Emergency Medicaid application by following the steps in the Emergency Medicaid Flyer.
If you were approved for Emergency Medicaid, and there are medical bills that will not be covered by it, you will then complete the screening for NYC H+H Options.
If you receive a bill, even if your Emergency Medicaid was approved, you should always follow-up on it with the institution who sent you the bill directly. You need to make sure your Emergency Medicaid covered as much of the bill as possible, and apply for H+H Options if necessary.
NYC H+H Options is a sliding scale option available to New York City residents, including those who don’t qualify for insurance because of their immigration status, and is based on family size and income.
For services not covered by Emergency Medicaid, eligible New York City residents will then be enrolled in NYC H+H Options and any balance will be subject to the sliding scale.
Applying For Health Insurance: Scenario 3
I lost my insurance coverage when I lost my job.
Apply for coverage through New York State of Health as soon as possible. There is a 60-day Special Enrollment Period to apply for health insurance through the State from the date you become uninsured.
If you were fired from or quit your job, you may be eligible to pay for COBRA health insurance coverage. COBRA can be an alternative to New York State of Health coverage, but for some may be too expensive. If you meet all eligibility requirements, you have a right to apply for COBRA benefits to extend your previous insurance plan at an extra cost to you.
Coverage could be extended up to 36 months. To learn more about this paid option, visit their website or contact the Human Resources Department at your previous job. You have 60 days to apply after the qualifying event, which in this case is the date the employment was terminated. We recommend starting with an application to New York State of Health. You may choose only one between the two options.
Applying For Health Insurance: Scenario 4
My health insurance coverage is ending soon.
If you already have an insurance plan and need to renew it, call your insurance provider directly to renew or visit their website, and skip the wait for New York State of Health.