Tag Archives: education

Harlem, wondering what are most common Health Care Reform Q and A’s? Learn more here

Harlem, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been in the news for quite some time. Whatever your position is about this subject matter, learning more about it empowers us all. EmblemHealth provided an article to HarlemGal Inc that covers some of the most common questions and answers about Obamacare. Given the significance around the subject matter, this blog is sharing the article in its entirety. Hope you find it helpful -HG.

Answers to the Most Common Health Care Reform Questions

By Sana Hashmi, Director of Health Care Reform and Product Design at EmblemHealth.

Through the open enrollment period, more than 1 million New Yorker’s are expected to sign up for health insurance online through NY State of Health, part of the national health care reform law known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. But what do you need to do and how do you do it?

Experts from EmblemHealth have been answering a lot of questions. To help New Yorker’s choose an insurance plan, below are some of the most common questions and the answers.

Q. What is the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?
In 2010, President Obama signed this law to make quality, affordable health care available to more Americans and offer financial assistance to those who need it most. It also requires most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty.

Q. What happened October 1?
NY State of Health, the state’s health insurance marketplace, opened. You can learn all about it at http://www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Anyone who enrolls in a health plan between October 1 and December 15 will be eligible for health insurance starting January 1, 2014. The deadline for enrolling on the health plan marketplace in the first enrollment period is March 31, 2014.

Q. Do I need to sign up for health insurance?
Unless you already have health insurance, the answer may be yes. The federal law says that most people in the US (legal residents and “lawfully present” immigrants) must have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty. If you don’t have health insurance right now, the law is designed to help you get an affordable plan.

Q. How can I afford health insurance?
People who qualify will be eligible for tax credits and subsidies to help lower the cost of coverage. Household income and family size are used to decide who gets help with costs and how much help they can get. You may be eligible for this help if your income is between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. The only way to know the exact dollar amount is to apply through the marketplace.

Q. Am I eligible for subsidies or tax credits?
Many people will be. Under the new law, you may get financial assistance when you apply for a plan on NY State of Health. You may get tax credits to lower monthly payments, subsidies to lower out-of-pocket costs when you go to the doctor, Medicaid (no-cost health coverage) or Child Health Plus (a low-cost health plan for young people up to age 19).

Q. I already have insurance but my spouse needs it. Will my salary affect her ability to receive a subsidy or a tax credit?
Yes. Eligibility for tax credits and subsidies is based on total household income.

Q. How do I sign up and what information do I need?
You can sign up for a health care plan online, in person, over the phone or by mail. You will need social security numbers for all family members you plan on enrolling, or document numbers for legal immigrants. Also, have employer information and income information at hand, and policy numbers for any health plans covering members of the household.

Q. Can I enroll my entire family?
Yes. The law requires most citizens and legal residents to have health insurance.

131021-obama-healthcare-hmed-240p.380;380;7;70;0Q. I have health insurance through my company. Will I need to sign up on NY State of Health?
If you have health insurance through your employer, you may not need to sign up. To be sure, ask your employer’s health benefits administrator (the person who assists with health benefits) or someone in the human resources department.

Q. I heard the new employer mandate was delayed. How does this affect me?
The employer mandate was delayed until January 2015. Once it takes effect, employers with 50 or more full-time workers must provide adequate, affordable health care coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty. (Adequate, affordable coverage means the plan covers 60% of total health care expenses and costs employees no more than 9.5% of their household income.)

If you have health insurance through your employer, you may not need to sign up. If you don’t have health insurance through your job, you can visit NY State of Health to look at your options. For more information, ask your employer’s health benefits administrator (the person who assists with health benefits) or someone in the human resources department.

Q. Can I still buy insurance directly from a health insurance company?
Yes, you can buy health insurance directly from a health insurer. But financial assistance is available only through NY State of Health.

Q. What are “metal” plans?
All health insurers participating on NY State of Health will offer four types of metal plans — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans. They cover the same benefits but, between health insurers, differ in monthly costs and in the choice of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. “Catastrophic” plans will be available for people under age 30 and others who qualify. This plan covers essential health benefits, routine preventive-care services and three annual visits to a primary care doctor at no out-of-pocket cost to you. It has similar benefits as the metal plans, but different costs.

Q. What will be covered?
All health insurance plans will be required to provide coverage for these essential benefits:
1. Routine doctor visits
2. Visits to the emergency room
3. Hospital care
4. Maternity and newborn care
5. Mental health and substance-abuse treatment
6. Prescription drugs
7. Habilitative and rehabilitative services
8. Laboratory tests
9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic-disease management
10. Pediatric services, including vision care
Certain preventive care services, like cholesterol tests, will be covered at 100% so that it’s easier to stay healthy.

Q. I don’t want health insurance. Will I be penalized?
If you don’t have health insurance in 2014, you may have to pay a penalty when you file your taxes. For 2014, the penalty is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1% of taxable household income — whichever is higher. For example, if you are a single adult with $50,000 of taxable income, the penalty would be $500.

The penalty will go up each year until 2016, when it will be $695 per adult and $347.50 per child or 2.5% of taxable household income — whichever is higher. After 2016, the penalty will continue to go up with the cost of living.

It’s important to think about more than just cost when considering your options. Health insurance is essential to protecting both your physical and financial health, in case something happens.

Q. Where do we go for more information?
The NY State of Health website, nystateofhealth.ny.gov, is a good place to start. Customer service information is available at 1-855-355-5777. EmblemHealth also has extensive information at emblemhealthreform.com.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be keynote speaker at Harlem’s Democracy Prep graduation

Congrats to Democracy Prep in Harlem! They are getting the top person at the United Nations to come and address their graduating class of 2013. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon will deliver the keynote address at Democracy Prep’s first graduation ceremony on June 24th at the historic Apollo Theater! Mr. Ban is currently serving as the eighth Secretary-General of the UN.

Way to go Democracy Prep and best wishes to all the graduates!

Peartree Preschool in Harlem now accepting applications for Summer/Fall Program

Peartree Preschool in Harlem, which opened this year on West 112th, recently announced that they are accepting applications for its Summer and Fall Program for 2-5 year olds. They are offering full week options or two or three-day options.

Monthly tuition can range from around $1700 for five days or as low as $1000 for the two-day option. Interested parents can apply online at the Peartree website.

To learn more about Peartree Preschool in Harlem and its founder, read the latest article by The New York Daily News. Or check out their website, which explains their mission, school curriculum, and admission process.

Harlem’s PS/IS180 Hugo Newman College Prep to start flea market April 7

HG Photo IMG_2550
A parent of Harlem’s PS/IS180 Hugo Newman College Prep School emailed HarlemGal Inc to let us know this Harlem school is starting their very own flea market to raise money for various programs that could potentially get cut. They plan on having a variety of vendors at this flea market, such as arts/crafts, clothing, vintage, jewelry, etc., and they are looking for vendors who are interested selling their products at this flea market!

The flea market will start April 7th and run until June 23rd every Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm RAIN OR SHINE at the school, which is located at 370 West 120th, between Morningside and Manhattan Avenue.

Annual Career Day for high school students to be held at Riverside Church in Harlem


Listen up young people! The Riverside Church will host its 22nd Annual Career Day & College Fair on Saturday, March 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Harlem at 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd Streets.). The theme of this year’s event is “Charge Forward!”

The keynote speaker this year will be Councilman Jumaane D. Williams (45th District, New York), who sits on the Committee for Higher Education and serves at the Chair for Youth Services.

At the event this year, participants will have an opportunity to visit with and receive information from representatives of more than 30 different colleges/universities (University of Kansas, M.I.T, Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, Wesleyan University and Johnson & Wales); and participate in panel discussions led by working professionals from a wide range of careers and vocations, including: IT, Law, Medicine, Communications, Sports/Entertainment, Engineering, Culinary Arts, Architecture, Green-Jobs and more.

Registration for the event is open and will continue through today Friday, March 1. Youth participants and organizations may register online at www.trccareerday.org, or call (212) 870-6833 or (212) 870-6827 for more information.

To get to The Riverside Church by subway take the 1 to 116th St. and walk to 91 Claremont Ave. (bet. 120th & 122nd St.) one block west of Broadway.


9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.



Harlem’s Democracy Prep Public Schools to host ‘Inauguration of a DREAM’

This January 21st, Democracy Prep Public Schools, which operates six charter schools in the Harlem area, will be hosting “Inauguration of a DREAM: a Celebration of Education, Service, and Democracy” from 10 am to 4 pm at the Harlem Armory. This event is free and open to the public. It will feature live music, guest speakers, food, door prizes, and community service opportunities to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This event will coincide with the second Presidential Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

If interested in attending this event, please RSVP by January 15 at Eventbrite.com.

Democracy Prep is a growing network of six free, open-enrollment, high-performing no excuses public charter schools committed to preparing scholars for success in the college of their choice and a life of active citizenship. Teachers and staff currently educate more than 1,500 scholars in grades K-12 at six schools across the Harlem neighborhood. To learn more about Democracy Prep Public Schools, visit their website.

Harlem School of the Arts Fall registration begins now

The good folks over at Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) sent in information yesterday notifying us that registration for Fall classes at the Harlem School of the Arts has started. It started yesterday, July 30! There is a five percent discount for students who register and pay in full by August 15.

From toddler to the inspired adult, HSA offers 5 disciplines-Music, Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts & Musical Theatre. So if you are interested in registering for Fall classes at HSA, apply online.


Attend panel discussion in Harlem on private school kindergarten admission process

Only in New York City do parents have to start thinking about the admission process for school while their child is still in utero. And it’s not even college admissions that they have to think about first. It is kindergarten and whether that primary step toward education should be public or private. This is the reality for NYC parents and if you’re approaching this part of parenting, to do private or public kindergarten for your kid, and live in Harlem, you may want to consider attending this event.

On August 13th at 6:30 pm, Let’s Talk Schools will be hosting a panel discussion in Harlem at Ephesus Church, located at 110 W 123rd Street (Corner of Lenox Avenue), on the NYC private school kindergarten admission process. The workshop will inform parents about applying to kindergarten at Hunter Elementary School on East 94th Street and private independent schools in September 2012 for the 2013-2014 school year. The workshop will discuss the different options available and provide an overview, directly from admission directors, about the process; including summary of the complete application process, screening tests (ERB & Stanford Binet), what to look for on tours and what to expect, financial aid and affording an independent school education and how admission decisions are made.

If you are interested in attending, the cost is $20 before August 9 and $25 from August 10-13. Registration is required to attend and space is limited. Click here to register.


‘Preventing Falls Among Seniors’ seminar happening in Harlem

Senator Bill Perkins and experts from the VNSNY CHOICE, a nurse-led health plan for Medicaid and/or Medicare eligible New Yorkers by the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York, have partnered together to host “Preventing Falls Among Seniors” seminar in Harlem. Dr. Eileen Bach, VNSNY’s Director of Rehabilitation Quality Assurance and Education Services, will lead the workshop on June 28, starting at noon, to present seniors and their family caregivers with knowledge that will keep them safe and confident in their home and community environments.

According to VNSNY CHOICE, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors. In fact, every 17 seconds a senior is taken to the emergency room because of a fall. And 70 percent of these falls occur in the home.

If you would like to attend this event or know of someone who would be interested, event details are below:

WHAT: Preventing Falls Among Seniors
WHO: Senator Bill Perkins and Health Experts from VNSNY CHOICE
WHEN: 12:00 PM, Thursday, June 28, 2012
WHERE: Taino Towers, Harlem Prep Charter School Building (240 East 123rd St. *In the gymnasium located on the lower level*Photo ID required*)

Harlem Link Charter School benefits from online recruitment drive

In April, EveryBlock.com partnered with DonorsChoose.org to help support public schools in New York City and four other cities. One of the schools to benefit from this campaign is  located in Harlem.

Close to $2000 has been raised for NYC and part of the proceeds will go to Harlem Link Charter School. Click here to see the projects and schools supported.

And if you’re wondering how this money was raised? It was simple. For every new user who signed up for EveryBlock.com in April, they donated $1 to a DonorsChoose.org classroom fundraiser in that person’s city.  Now that’s putting social networking to good use! Congrats to Harlem Link Charter School and EveryBlock!