Community Health Advocates (CHA) is New York's Consumer Assistance Program
Across New York City and in every county in the state, CSS’s Community Health Advocates (CHA) helps consumers obtain and navigate health coverage, access low-cost or free care, solve billing issues, fight for their health care rights, and more.
Since 2010, CHA has handled over 281,000 cases for consumers and small businesses, and helped New Yorkers save a total of $21 million in health care & insurance costs.
Right now Governor Cuomo and the NY State Legislature are negotiating the 2018 budget. CHA urgently needs $1.5 million in additional funding in order to continue to provide free, high-quality service to New Yorkers and handle the additional influx of cases from consumers left confused and fearful about their coverage following recent threats to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That's why we're asking for your help!
Call your New York State Senate & Assembly Representatives and urge them to FULLY FUND CHA in this year's New York State budget. HERE'S HOW
Meet three New Yorkers who got help when they needed it.
“I’m so thankful CHA exists! I had a massive pile of bills and no idea where to start with any of it."
In 2016, Jennifer B. was driving home when her car was rear-ended. As a precaution, Jennifer was transported to the hospital by ambulance to be examined. While at the hospital, she received several tests to rule out any significant injury.
While her CAT scan did not show a concussion or any other damage as a result of the accident, the scan did reveal a mass in Jennifer’s brain – a brain tumor. Surgery was scheduled for the next day. When the biopsy came back, it confirmed her worst fears. Jennifer had brain cancer. Six weeks later, she had a second surgery.
After the surgery, Jennifer endured radiation and chemotherapy. Unable to work, she moved back to her parents’ house temporarily while she continued treatment. Thousands of dollars in bills began arriving. Jennifer attempted to stay organized and understand which would be paid by her health insurance, her car insurance, or the car insurance of the person who rear-ended her car.
As the bills piled up, Jennifer reached out to a CHA Advocate for help. Together they organized each of her bills, contacted providers, and determined which insurance company was responsible for paying. Over the next few months, her CHA Advocate helped Jennifer ensure that each bill had been paid by the appropriate party. “I’m so thankful this service exists! I had a massive pile of bills and no idea where to start with any of it, and without my CHA Advocate’s assistance I doubt I would have figured it out. She has been beyond wonderful.”
“I wasn’t going to give up on my health.”
Jill and CHA fought for a surgery she desperately needed—and won. For most of her life, 39-year old Jill H. has experienced severe, painful jaw and dental problems. Over time, simply eating solid food became nearly impossible. Desperate to be well, she consulted with several specialists, all of whom agreed that she needs corrective jaw surgery.
When Jill’s health insurer deemed the procedure “not medically necessary,” and issued a denial, Jill appealed the decision through the insurer, and was again denied. “That was a huge blow,” says Jill, “but I wasn’t going to give up on my health.” She spoke with a CHA advocate, who helped her file an appeal through New York State. The result? The insurer’s denial was overturned, and Jill was approved for the surgery she needs. “I’m not afraid anymore. You have rights, and CHA is there to help.”
“CHA was there to help.”
CHA enabled Margarita to understand her health plan and medical bills—and save over $800. Margarita C. is originally from Mexico, and her primary language is Mixtec. She turned to CHA for help understanding an $800 lab bill she received for pregnancy-related tests, as well as a letter sent by her insurer. Margarita’s CHA Advocate at Make the Road New York worked diligently to communicate with her and translate the documents. With CHA’s help, Margarita learned that the letter was a notification that her newborn had been added to her health plan. As for the lab fee—the CHA Advocate made sure that her health plan, rather than Margarita herself, was billed for the $800. The Advocate also helped Margarita apply for a program that gives women $25 to attend postpartum well visits.
TAKE ACTION! Support CHA's vital programs.