Empire Justice Center
- Project Title: Ambassadors for Coverage, Phase 2
- Priority Area: Expanding Health Care Coverage
- Grant Amount: $189,112
- Date Awarded: October 9, 2014
- Region: Finger Lakes
- Website: http://www.empirejustice.org/
- Grant Status: Complete
An expansion and simplification of Medicaid, the establishment of the NY State of Health Marketplace, and financial subsidies for individuals and small businesses should all make health care coverage more affordable and more accessible. However, limited outreach and education efforts thus far have left the public with little knowledge of the opportunities ahead. To address these challenges, New York State launched a multipronged strategy to engage the uninsured and help them enroll in coverage, including support for organizations to be selected as Navigators to provide in-person enrollment assistance to individuals, families, small businesses, and their employees who apply for health insurance through the Marketplace. In 2013, NYSHealth awarded Empire Justice Center (EJC) a grant to develop and administer an Ambassadors for Coverage program to extend the reach of Navigators. To continue these efforts, NYSHealth awarded EJC a second grant in 2014 to fund 20 organizations to serve as Ambassadors.
Under this grant, EJC continued to develop and provide day-to-day management for the Ambassadors program, including training and ongoing support. This program trained, engaged, and deployed community-based organizations throughout New York State to provide an on-the-ground presence in hard-to-serve communities and to encourage enrollment. EJC selected 20 organizations—19 of which continued on from the Phase 1 grant— to serve as Ambassadors, including child care providers, immigrant-serving organizations, community action agencies, and housing agencies. The Ambassadors conducted outreach, educated consumers about their options, encouraged people to take the steps necessary to enroll in coverage, and connected them to Navigators.
NYSHealth awarded EJC a third grant in 2015 to target populations that have been left out of previous enrollment efforts.