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New York at a Glance

Healthcare and Education in New York

Welcome to New York, the city that never sleeps! Each year, thousands of expats move to the Big Apple and make their dream of living in New York come true. We give you facts on this unparalleled city that countless movies didn’t already tell you: Info on healthcare, public transportation, education, and more.


Unlike most other developed countries, the USA does not have a comprehensive public healthcare system. Nationwide, there are only two government-sponsored healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid. While Medicare caters to pensioners and people with disabilities, Medicaid is designed to support poor families in precarious living conditions.

Similarly, the Affordable Care Act has aimed to make healthcare more widely available and affordable. However, many people still rely on health insurance packages offered by their employers.

Health Insurance

Most companies offer a choice of different healthcare plans to their employees, and many plans cover the employee’s immediate family as well. Some packages come with low monthly contributions but high excess payments. Others cover a larger percentage of treatment costs in return for higher monthly rates. Note that virtually no insurance package offers 100% coverage of costs arising from medical treatment.

Some people choose to join a healthcare organization or network such as an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). For a monthly premium, these organizations grant their members access to healthcare and treatments provided by a selected network of doctors.

Do you want to learn more about the different types of health insurance, the services they cover, and the changes that came with the last healthcare reform? Read our article on US healthcare and health insurance for more details.

Medical Facilities

New York City’s government provides a comparatively inclusive healthcare system with several government-sponsored schemes. Expats would be wise to take a look at the Guide to Health Insurance Options for New York City’s Small Businesses, Sole Proprietors and Working Individuals. It is available for download in English, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and Spanish from the Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access.

There are various public and private hospitals across the city, the latter usually offering better facilities at higher prices. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s interactive map can assist you with locating the nearest public hospital or healthcare facility.


In New York City, children between 5 and 21 years of age with no high school diploma are entitled to attend a public school for free in the their district, regardless of citizenship and immigration status. In order to enroll, parents need to register their child at their zoned (=local) school. The NYC Department of Education’s School Search Tool can assist you in determining your school district and zoned school.

Usually, parents need to provide proof of address and an immunization record for their child. A list of required immunizations and walk-in immunization clinics in New York City can be found on the NYC Department of Health’s website.

High school students need to register at an Enrollment Office in their borough of residence. It is advisable for expats to find out as much as possible about a school before registering their child, as teaching standards and records of academic achievement can vary significantly.


In the absence of a nationwide curriculum or educational authority, standards are determined by each individual school district and depend on the respective neighborhoods and their available funding. However, if your local public school satisfies your expectations, there is no reason your child should not attend.

Of course, there are numerous private schools in New York City as well, and some of them offer boarding facilities. Some also offer the International Baccalaureate instead of, or in addition to, the US High School Diploma.

The Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York provides a school directory along with information on enrollment, financial aid, and other issues. A range of websites exists that rank New York schools, such as School Digger and Zillow, which might also be of interest to you.

There are a variety of school types, educational programs, and schooling options. If you want to find out more about them, take a look at our article on schools in the USA.


Got something to add?

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, if you spot any inaccurate info, don’t hesitate to contact us.

InterNations Expat Magazine