Success Stories

Community Health Advocates has been helping people access health care for over 10 years. During this time, our agencies have many success stories that we are proud to share. Below are just a few of our many Community Health Advocates success stories.

CHA helps Donald resolve medical debt

Donald Burdick found himself in deep medical debt resulting from a computer error that accidentally enrolled him in two plans at the same time. Neither plan was listed as his primary insurance, so neither paid for his care, resulting in thousands of dollars of medical debt. Despite needing care for ongoing medical issues, Donald stopped going to his primary care doctor for fear of incurring even more debt.

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CHA helps Joclyn with surprise out-of-network bills

While recovering from a catastrophic illness that nearly took her life, Joclyn found herself in a medical billing nightmare. Although treated in an "in-network" hospital, to her surprise the surgeons who operated on her were "out-of-network," and billed her upwards of $70,000.  Community Health Advocates intervened and saved her financial life.  Working closely with the NYS Department of Financial Services and other stakeholders, CHA brought to life stories of surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers.

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CHA helps Roseann to get her insurance to pay for her durable medical equipment

Roseann has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and needed oxygen at home for the first time. Recently insured under a new plan, she was told that she would have to pay a co-pay of $500 a month for the oxygen.  On a limited income, Roseann could not afford this amount and reached out to the CHA advocate at Chenango Health Network.  After talking to Roseann’s plan, the CHA advocate was able to help Roseann get the prior authorization she needed for this durable medical equipment so it would be paid for by her insurance.

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CHA helps a small business owner understand the NYSOH Small Business Marketplace

Tracey contacted a CHA advocate at S2AY Rural Health Network to learn about her health insurance options as a small business owner. The CHA advocate explained the employer mandate, how she could qualify for small business tax credits and how to benefit from the new health care laws.  Because of the help that she received, she decided she could finally provide her employees with coverage.

“I am relieved to know that there is a free program in my community that can help me and my employees use and understand our health insurance.”

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CHA helps Mateo receive hospital financial assistance

Mateo is an uninsured full time college student living in Queens.  He first contacted the CHA advocate at Make the Road New York when he received collection notices for unpaid medical bills. In April 2014, Mateo needed medical care and wound up with an unaffordable bill.  The CHA advocate helped Mateo find and complete the hospital financial assistance application. With CHA’s help, his bill was reduced to an amount that he could pay. 

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CHA helps Jean reduce her hospital bills

Jean* works for a small business that belongs to the North Country Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce, a Community Health Advocate Network partner agency.  The Chamber helps small employers and their employees with health insurance and health care access problems. When she started getting bills after a one-week hospitalization, Jean turned to her local CHA advocate at the Chamber for help.  Jean had not met her annual deductible yet.

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CHA helps Jocelyn reinstate her son's Child Health Plus coverage

Jocelyn arrived at the hospital to get emergency care for her 4 year old son Jeremy and was told that his health insurance was inactive. Jeremy had to see a doctor and get oxygen, so Jocelyn had no choice but to pay for it out of pocket. He received the care he needed.

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Gaining Knowledge About My Coverage

Winter is a 29-year-old, Brooklyn resident who works in sales and marketing. He was referred to Community Health Advocates (CHA) by a friend because he was having trouble getting his health insurance plan to cover transgender health services. He had COBRA coverage after leaving a job and the services he needed were denied by that plan.  He soon secured different coverage through his new employer, however, that plan also would not cover the services his doctor had confirmed he needed.

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Gladys Puglla: "CHA Never Gave Up"

Gladys Puglla was in a meeting when she collapsed without warning. She was immediately rushed to one hospital, and then transferred to another for treatment by specialists. The 50-year-old city employee eventually recovered from what was revealed to have been a stroke, and felt lucky. Then the bills arrived—over $130,000 in hospital and doctor fees, more than three times her annual salary. “That was scary,” she said. It turned out that the bills were so high because Gladys had received care from doctors that were not part of her insurance plan at the second hospital.

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After attending a CHA presentation for small businesses about the Affordable Care Act, Kathleen contacted CHA’s Small Business Assistance Program to review her employers’ health insurance options.  Together SBAP and Kathleen found how the business could capitalize on the Small Business Tax Credit and the employees could take full advantage of the Affordable Care Act. Everyone ended up paying less to have better coverage.

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