Press Release

CSS Will Help Uninsured New Yorkers Purchase Health Insurance

Contact: Jeffrey N. Maclin
(212) 614-5538 (office)
(718) 309-2346 (cell)
jmaclin@cssny.org

The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) will help uninsured New Yorkers purchase health insurance through the New York Health Benefit Exchange, a health care marketplace. The Exchange is the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires each state to set up online “one-stop-shopping” marketplaces where consumers and businesses can shop for and enroll into health coverage.

Working with its network of 38 statewide trusted local community-based organizations and small business-serving groups, CSS will use targeted enrollment strategies and venues that are tailored to the needs of uninsured New Yorkers.  Under a 62-month contract from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), CSS will establish a navigator network to enroll 55,000 New York individuals, families and small employers in insurance plans each year in 61 out of 62 counties.

The local subcontracting organizations partnering with CSS will be staffed by employees who are intimately familiar with New York’s uninsured population, including local organizations that serve low-wage retail and restaurant workers; immigrant and minority serving groups; Chambers of  Commerce and other small business-serving groups; longstanding providers of Facilitated Enrollment, social service and legal services to low-income and disabled New Yorkers; groups that serve young adults; rural associations; and health care providers.

David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society said: “Access to quality health coverage is particularly critical in low and moderate income, minority and immigrant communities where individuals often forgo preventative care and experience greater health risks. As a consumer and community focused nonprofit with more than 170 years of experience working with underserved communities, CSS is uniquely positioned to engage vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities and deploy effective outreach and education strategies to increase enrollment and promote the benefits of health coverage.”

Elisabeth R. Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society said:  “Drawing on our success establishing Community Health Advocates (CHA), which for the last decade has helped more than 200,000 New Yorkers navigate the health care system, CSS will leverage a statewide network of community and small business-serving groups to guide people of diverse backgrounds to the exchange, explain their options and help them select health coverage that bests meets their needs. New York has been a leader in expanding health care services, and CSS is proud to play a role in bringing more affordable health coverage to individuals and businesses.”

The New York Health Benefit Exchange will begin accepting applications on October 1, 2013 for enrollment starting January 1, 2014. It is designed to connect New Yorkers and businesses to health insurance made available through the ACA. Tax subsidies and cost-sharing reductions introduced under the ACA will make purchasing health insurance much more affordable. For example, the costs for individual and family coverage are expected to drop by 50 percent. For small businesses, the cost of providing coverage to their employees may drop by 5 percent, depending upon its current level of coverage.

Earlier this month CSS was notified by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) that it had been awarded a grant to establish and implement an “in-person assistors/navigator (IPA/N)” network to support health insurance enrollment requirements in conformity with the ACA. The agreement is contingent on approval by the New York Comptroller’s Office. Over the course of the next two months CSS will offer briefings to state elected officials and other stakeholders on its navigator network and specifics of its outreach and enrollment strategy.

Click here to see a listing of CSS Navigator Network partner organizations.


The Community Service Society draws on a 170-year history of excellence in addressing the root causes of economic disparity. As a leading voice on behalf of low-income New Yorkers and the working poor, CSS responds to urgent, contemporary problems through applied research, advocacy and litigation, and innovative program models that strengthen and benefit all New Yorkers and help promote a more prosperous city. Visit www.cssny.org.

CSS operates Community Health Advocates, a health consumer assistance program, which served more than 115,000 New Yorkers in the past 31 months through one-on-one counseling sessions and educational workshops instructing clients how to sign up for, use, and keep health insurance.  CHA is an “all-payer” program, helping people with public (Medicaid, Medicare, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus) and private insurance as well as the uninsured.  Since its inception in 1999, it has assisted more than 200,000 individuals.  CHA works with a network of 30 community-based organizations throughout the State as well as three specialist agencies: Empire Justice Center, Legal Aid Society of New York, and Medicare Rights Center.  CHA offers services in 14 different languages. Visit www.communityhealthadvocates.org.