Health care coverage for an individual or family in New York City, as in the rest of the USA is generally acquired through an employer or the employer of a spouse or parent. There are some government programs, but generally these cover only US citizens in certain age or income groups. Health Insurance can also be purchased privately but these plans are very expensive and have monthly premiums that cost $2000 upwards for a family. Insurance for dental and vision care are sold separately from medical insurance plans.

The kind of insurance plan you have determines the doctor that you can visit. Before you chose your doctor you have to first check if the doctor you would like to use is a participant of the network of your health insurance company. This information is typically available on the website of the medical insurance company and can also be accessed by calling the company’s hotline which should be manned by knowledgeable personnel who can even suggest a doctor/ medical practice for you.

If you visit an out-of-network doctor you have to have a health plan which is known as a PPO health plan wherein the insurance company covers health care delivered by either in-network or out-of-network providers. PPO health plans generally have higher premiums than HMO health plans or plans that provide health care only through in-network doctors.

When you visit a doctor in NYC, or in any other city in the US, you have to fill out a form and supply information about the medical insurance coverage that you have (you should be issued with an ID card from your insurer). At the end of the visit you are asked to make a payment which is known as a co-payment. The stipulated co-payment amount is mentioned on your identification card and is the amount that you have to pay out of pocket before your health insurer pays for a particular visit or service.

Similarly you are also provided with a prescription card by your medical insurance company. With this card you are required to make a co-payment when you pick up your prescription from a pharmacy. The remainder of the prescription cost is borne by the insurance company.

Some of the main insurance companies that operate in NYC include:

Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, Inc. (
Customer Service department,
55 Water Street, New York,
New York 10041-8190.
Phone :1-800-447-8255 members
Phone: 1-866-447-9717 non-members

Atlantic Health Plan Inc(
45 Broadway
Suite 300
New York, NY 10006
Phone or fax
Phone : +1 212 747 0877
Toll Free:+1 866 747 8422
Fax: + 1212 747 0843

Empire BlueCross BlueShield (
One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
Phone: + 1212 476 1000
Fax:+1212 4761281
Toll Free: +1 800 261-962.

Aetna Health Inc (
151 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06156
Phone:+1 860 273 0123

An expatriate in New York City cannot really establish a relationship with a particular private hospital instead he/she should build up a relationship with a physician in a reputable medical practice. This physician can then help with referrals for specialists etc. By US law emergency rooms in all hospitals have to take in emergency medical cases regardless of the patients ability to pay.