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New York at a Glance

Healthcare and Education in New York

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


The US does not have a comprehensive public healthcare system like most other developed countries. 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.

There are ambitious government plans to make healthcare affordable and widely accessible under the Affordable Care Act. At the point of writing, however, most people still rely on health insurance packages offered by their employers.

Health Insurance

Most companies offer a choice of different healthcare plans, either for individuals or for the employee´s family. 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. There is virtually no insurance package offering 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. A Freelancers Union provides you with a 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 provides assistance with locating the nearest public hospital or healthcare facility.


In New York City, every child between the age of 5 and 21 without a high school diploma is entitled to attend a public school in the district where he or she lives. This rule applies, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. In order to enroll, parents need to register their child at their zoned (=local) school. The NYC Department of Education School Search Tool provides help with determining your school district and your zoned school.

Parents will 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 Bureau of Immunization website.

High school students need to register at a Student Registration Center in their borough of residence. It is advisable to find out as much as possible about a school before registering your child, as teaching standards and records of academic achievement can vary greatly.


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

Of course, there are numerous private schools in New York City, some of them offering boarding facilities and/or 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 schools directory plus information on enrolment, financial aid and other issues. You might also be interested in the parentsconnect network, where parents can rate and rank private schools based on their own view and experience.

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.

InterNations Expat Magazine