Improving Awareness of and Enrollment in New York's Post 9/11 Temporary Disaster Relief Medicaid Program

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks resulted in extensive damage to the computer systems of New York City's Medicaid program. In response, city and state officials established a temporary, simplified enrollment process for public health insurance, called Disaster Relief Medicaid.

In 2001 and 2002, the United Hospital Fund of New York, a health services research and philanthropic organization, coordinated efforts to publicize the temporary program, assist in its implementation and study its policy implications.

Key Results/Findings

  • Between September 2001 and January 2002, more than 340,000 New Yorkers enrolled in Disaster Relief Medicaid and received immediate health coverage.
  • Although many enrollees appeared to have been previously eligible for Medicaid, 73 percent had never applied.
  • Only 38 percent of temporary enrollees successfully made the transition into ongoing Medicaid coverage; typically, 50 percent of Medicaid recipients re-enroll.