New York City has launched a $100m health insurance programme to extend healthcare coverage to approximately 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers.

Known as NYC Care, the universal health insurance programme has been introduced by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. It will also offer coverage to every single resident New Yorkers including undocumented immigrants.

To be launched in the Bronx later this year, NYC Care will be fully available to all New Yorkers across the five boroughs in 2021.

The plan will guarantee anyone ineligible for insurance direct access to NYC Health + Hospitals’ physicians, pharmacies and mental health and substance abuse services.

Under the programme, the New York denizens can avail affordable services such as call lines to help make appointments with general practitioners, cardiologists, pediatricians, gynecologists and a full spectrum of health care services.

The services would be offered on a sliding scale basis for those who are able to pay a part of their bill and those who cannot afford to pay will be provided care free of cost.

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The NYC Care plan is an expansion of the existing MetroPlus plan that provides financial assistance to pay hospital bills for low-income residents.

Mayor de Blasio said: “Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it. While the federal government works to gut health care for millions of Americans, New York City is leading the way by guaranteeing that every New Yorker has access to quality, comprehensive access to care, regardless of immigration status or their ability to pay.”

He further stated that the NYC Care plan would include primary and specialty care along with maternity and pediatric care as well as mental health services.

NYC Health + Hospitals president and CEO Mitchell Katz said: “NYC Care will be the biggest and most comprehensive health coverage program in the country.

“Building on the great work of our doctors, nurses and staff, and working collaboratively with community partners, NYC Health + Hospitals will help give all New Yorkers the quality care they deserve.”