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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: information on healthcare, public transportation, education, and more.

Healthcare: Not Affordable for Everyone

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.

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, healthcare has been more widely available and affordable. However, many people still rely on health insurance packages offered by their employers.

Health Insurance: Have You Already Chosen Your Plan?

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.

Where to Find Information on Healthcare in New York City

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 brochure series for Individuals and Families and Small Businesses. It is available for download in several languages, including Arabic, Bengali, and Urdu, 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.

What You Need to Know about Education in New York City

In New York City, children between five and 21 years of age with no high school diploma are entitled to attend a public school for free in 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.

Finding the Right School for Your Children

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 also offer boarding facilities. Some schools 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 exist 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.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

InterNations Expat Magazine