The Health Insurance Project works to identify ways to expand and strengthen public and private health insurance, by helping to fashion solutions to emerging policy, regulatory, and implementation challenges that stand between New Yorkers and affordable, quality health coverage. The Health Insurance Project also analyzes demographic data on coverage, health plan enrollment and financial results, and the insurance statutes and regulations unique to New York State, in order to inform the health care policy discussion and identify emerging issues and opportunities.


Public and private insurance play central roles in the financing of health care. The vast majority of the elderly population (age 65 and older) is covered under the federal Medicare program. Low-income families (including low-income seniors and the disabled), receive coverage primarily through the Medicaid program, which is jointly funded by the federal government, the state, and counties. The private health insurance market is largely driven by employer-sponsored group coverage for workers and their families, although the Affordable Care Act has revitalized New York’s private market for individuals.

Approximately 11 million New Yorkers—56 percent of the total population—receive health insurance through employers, about half through insurance policies and the remainder through various self-insurance arrangements. About 3.1 million New Yorkers are enrolled in the Medicare Program, with 1.2 million signed up for Medicare Advantage, the federal managed care option. Approximately 6.3 million New Yorkers are covered by Medicaid, including over 4 million in managed care plans. New York’s 2014 uninsurance rate of 8.7 percent is well below the national average of 11.7 percent, but that still leaves 1.7 million New Yorkers without coverage.