Bay Ridge Isn’t That Great at Having Health Insurance

Doctor's Row in Bay Ridge
Doctor’s Row, Via LoopNet

Bay Ridge residents are slightly better than the city average at having health insurance, according to a report from the comptroller. 10.4 percent of residents in Brooklyn’s Community District 10, which also encompasses Dyker Heights, are uninsured, or 13,314 residents; the city average is 11.4 percent, or almost one million people.

For context, 4 percent of residents of the Upper West and Upper East sides are uninsured, while 22 percent (or more) of residents in Bushwick, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Sunnyside are. “The situation is particularly dire in neighborhoods with large immigrant and younger populations,” Scott Stringer said in a statement. Bay Ridge has a large senior population, which you would imagine would bring its numbers down, but its not insignificant immigrant population, as well as Dyker Heights’s, might explain why Bay Ridge has more uninsured than Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, Borough Park, BedStuy, East New York, Canarsie and Park Slope—and also why 16.3 perecent of residents in neighboring Sunset Park lack health insurance. (Civic organizations, like the Arab American Association of New York, can often help immigrants navigate complex bureaucracies like the healthcare system, ahem ahem.)

For those who need health insurance, an open enrollment period begins November 1; you can shop for plans here, in the state marketplace. The tax penalty for not having insurance increases next year to at least $695, and could cost even more. But the cost of having insurance can be much more. Not for the poor—there is government assistance available to those who qualify, which is good! But imagine that you’re a single person who works full-time for $20/hr. in New York City; you’d be doing well enough not to need (or qualify for any but insignificant) government assistance, which is great, and to lead a modestly comfortable life here, despite the outrageous real-estate prices and quality-of-life costs. But the least expensive individual plans on the state marketplace, according to research I did, begin at more than $300 per month, which means you’ll spend almost 8 percent of your annual salary (before taxes) on health insurance—health insurance, by the way, that sucks; the lowest plans have a $3,500 deductible, which means that if you ever needed to see a doctor or buy medicine (or if you had a chronic health condition like diafuckingbetes), you’d spend up to another almost 8 percent of your salary (before taxes) before your insurance ever kicked in.

Doesn’t a single-payer system start to make a lot of sense?