New York State Health Foundation

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Empire Justice Center

  • Project Title: Ambassadors for Coverage, Phase 3
  • Priority Area: Expanding Health Care Coverage
  • Grant Amount: $220,000
  • Date Awarded: October 26, 2015
  • Region: Statewide
  • Website: http://www.empirejustice.org/
  • Grant Status: Complete

Overview

Despite the successes of health reform, some consumers were and still are uninformed about the opportunities and benefits of having health insurance. To address this challenge, the State launched a multipronged strategy to engage uninsured New Yorkers and help then enroll in coverage, including training in-person enrollers to provide support to individuals and small businesses as they apply for health insurance. To complement these efforts, NYSHealth awarded Empire Justice Center (EJC) a grant in 2013 to develop and administer an Ambassadors for Coverage program, which trained community-based organizations throughout the State to provide an on-the-ground presence in hard-to-serve communities and encourage health insurance enrollment. The Ambassadors provided an essential link between consumers and enrollment assistors. NYSHealth awarded EJC a second grant in 2014 to build upon these efforts. In 2015, NYSHealth awarded EJC a renewal grant to target populations that have been left out of previous enrollment efforts.

Under this grant, EJC continued to train, engage, and deploy community-based Ambassador organizations in New York, both leading up to and during the next enrollment period. The Ambassadors continued to provide a range of culturally and linguistically appropriate and effective approaches to inform New Yorkers about the NY State of Health Marketplace, the State’s official health benefit exchange. During this phase 3 grant, the program specifically targeted those New Yorkers who were left out of previous outreach efforts, including (1) populations financially eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid and (2) low-wage workers and other groups that may not qualify for Medicaid but are eligible for assistance through the Marketplace. The Ambassadors identified those hard-to-reach groups and worked closely with the State on developing plans to engage uninsured individuals and families in those communities.