Launched in 1985, MetroPlus Health Plan Inc. is a prepaid health services plan that offers low- or no-cost health insurance to eligible residents in the five boroughs, with an emphasis on primary and preventative care.
“We’re open to serving anyone who doesn’t have health insurance who needs a good product at a good price,” MetroPlus Chief Operating Officer Seth Diamond said.
MetroPlus serves New Yorkers through Medicaid ManagedCare, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, Medicaid HIV Special Needs Plan (SNP), Partnership in Care and Managed Long Term Care, among other options for a variety of populations.
According to Diamond, about 80 percent of MetroPlus customers are Medicaid members and 20 percent fall into other categories such as Medicare members or disabled New Yorkers. In the last several months, MetroPlus has also been very prominent on the New York Health Insurance Exchange, the State’s marketplace for Obamacare.
“For people who go in for the open enrollment period and are looking for a health plan, particularly ones who are looking for an affordable health plan, we’ve been a very popular choice,” Diamond said.
MetroPlus is especially suited to the Queens community due to its partnerships with area hospitals. As a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation subsidiary, MetroPlus works closely with HHC facilities such as Elmhurst Hospital and Queens Hospital in Jamaica.
MetroPlus also has a presence throughout the Borough and City, including enrollments at the Queens Mall and locations at area doctor offices and faith-based organizations.
“I think [Queens] is a very good population because you have a lot of people new to this country and so now under the affordable care act they need to get health insurance. So we can help them do that,” Diamond said.
To serve New York’s diverse communities, MetroPlus provides service in multiple languages.
“We have the availability working very closely with HHCs to serve the full range of languages that people need,” Diamond said. “That’s one of our strengths and I think one of the reasons we’ve done well, because health insurance is a very personal, emotional experience. You’re buying something that is potentially life saving for your family.”
MetroPlus Customer Services is available in 13 languages, and MetroPlus produces multi-language member handbooks including Braille and publishes a quarterly newsletter in six languages.
An emphasis on preventative care also underlies MetroPlus’ mission.
“In earlier days, health insurance was just something that paid the bills,” Diamond said. “Now health insurance companies – particularly MetroPlus – take a much more active roll in working with patients because we want to keep people healthy.”
MetroPlus does this by keeping in contact with members throughout the year, focusing on follow up appointments to maintain health and working with doctors to emphasize follow up care.
“It’s an ongoing relationship, not just at the point when you are sick and pay the bills. We recognize that a better way to do it is to work with people throughout the year,” Diamond explained.
“Just because you feel healthy at the moment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking steps to make sure that you stay healthy,” he added.
As part of its community engagement mission, MetroPlus regularly participates in events throughout the City. Queens residents can keep abreast of upcoming community events by visiting www.metroplus.org/events.
For more information on MetroPlus and available plans, visit www.metroplus.org.