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  • New Yorkers Prioritize Doctor Access Over Having Lowest-Cost Health Plan, New Survey Shows

    -- Survey Data Show Ease of Making Appointment Cited #1 as “Very Important” by more than 4,200 Adults Eligible for NY State Health Plan Marketplace --

    -- Affinity to Participate in Community Q&A Forums on NY Health Benefit Exchange Open Enrollment Choices Under Affordable Care Act --

    BRONX, NY – September 10, 2013 – New Yorkers are savvy consumers when it comes to discerning the most important services offered by a health insurance plan.  A recent survey of more than 4,200 adults throughout New York City and surrounding counties, conducted by the academic polling group at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, shows that consumers rate health insurance needs including ease of making an appointment and having many doctors to choose from as “very important” more frequently than having the lowest cost plan available. 

    Findings from the survey highlight the importance of access to doctors; when asked where respondents get information about healthcare in general, the most common response was ‘from my physician’ (27%).  The next most common responses were ‘from a friend or relative’ (12%) and ‘from Google’ (11%), demonstrating that doctors and community take priority over technology when it comes to choices about personal and medical care.

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    “Ensuring access to quality health care, when and where and how consumers need it, must be at the heart of every health plan’s mission,” said Bertram Scott, CEO, Affinity Health Plan.  “From Middletown to Mattituck to Morris Park, this New York area survey underscores what people in our communities want and need – the ability to see a doctor as quickly as possible, in a convenient location, and to discuss health needs in their native language.  Many new health plan options will become available on October 1 with the new Health Plan Marketplace – some with doctor networks as large as 33,000; others with networks of just 9,000.  That difference could have a huge impact on consumers’ ability to access needed care.”

    The independent Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll, supported by Affinity Health Plan, included 4,268 adults and was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones across 10 New York State counties (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau, Orange, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester), in English, Spanish and Chinese, as needed, between April 15 and May 15 of 2013.  Respondents included 2,110 adults eligible for health coverage on the NY Health Plan Marketplace and 2,158 current Affinity members. 

    “New York area residents were very vocal in conversations with our survey staff on what matters to them when choosing a health plan,” said Rich Higginson, Director of Consumer Research, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. “Survey results like these can be important in helping health plans understand current and future customer needs.”

    “Affinity is gratified that the PublicMind survey data affirm our customer-service commitment to ensure our members have extensive access to health professionals and fast appointment setting – why have health insurance if it’s not usable when and where you need it?” reflected Scott.  “Through the years, we have built a physician-provider network that more than doubles the networks of other plans available to consumers in New York City and surrounding counties.”

    Plan choice will soon be a pressing consumer mandate, as more than 1 million New Yorkers are anticipated to receive health coverage through the New York Health Benefit Exchange, known officially as NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace.  Helping them prepare for the NY Health Plan Marketplace open enrollment period, which lasts from October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014, Affinity Health Plan will participate at a number of upcoming community events to share important information about the Exchange, answer questions, and share what other New York residents express as important to health plan choice:

    • September 14 – Brooklyn: Day for Kids at Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area
    • September 20 – Chinatown, Manhattan: Chinese Chamber Mid-Autumn Festival
    • September 21 – Bronx: National Council of Negro Women Health Fair
    • September 21 – Newburgh: Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center Health Fair
    • September 22 – East Meadow:  Hispanic Heritage Night at Eisenhower Park
    • September 29 – Brooklyn: HABNET Membership Appreciation Day
    • October 19 – Manhattan: WPIX Health and Wellness Expo, Javits Convention Center

    Media Contact:
    Carmina Pérez
    Affinity Health Plan