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:
  • Grant Status: Complete


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.