As the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act looms, a new initiative has been launched to bridge the health care gap through language.
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is making bilingual enrollment counselors available to help non-native speakers apply for the insurance program.
Counselors are on hand Monday through Friday to help people navigate the enrollment process.
The announcement was made at Gouverneur Health Center, which primarily serves Latino and Chinese patients.
"People are assuming that if they were to go in and apply, perhaps there would be no one who spoke the language who could help them. We want them to know there are people here who are enrolling folks who speak Spanish and Chinese who can help them," said Dr. Martha Sullivan, executive director of Gouverneur Health.
The service is free of charge, and people can request specific languages.
New patients can walk in. Existing patients should call the hospital to meet with a counselor.
The open enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act is March 31.