Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Keeping New Yorkers Covered and Protected

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

March 11, 2024





In Progress



NYHealth has a long history of investing in and partnering with New York’s consumer advocates, including successful efforts to (1) ensure that New Yorkers stay enrolled in health insurance and (2) protect them from crippling medical debt.

Coverage rates rose to historically high levels during the COVID-19 pandemic and the State is undertaking a massive effort to preserve those gains. NYHealth worked with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) to stand up the Keep New York Covered initiative—an effort by community-based enrollers to conduct outreach and marketing to millions of New Yorkers to help them stay covered. New York now ranks among the top 5 states in keeping families enrolled in Medicaid, with close to 80% of those required to recertify remaining enrolled. Simultaneously, medical debt continues to be a crushing burden for New Yorkers; a recent NYHealth-commissioned study shows that approximately 740,000 New Yorkers had medical debt in collections on their credit records. But New York is making progress:  a coalition of partners, including CSS, has run the highly successful End Medical Debt NY campaign, with NYHealth support. Most recently, New York became only the second state in the nation to prohibit credit agencies from including medical debt of any amount on credit reports. Even with all this progress, there is more work to be done. In 2024, NYHealth awarded CSS a grant to maintain consumer advocacy and programmatic infrastructure to support statewide efforts to keep New Yorkers covered with health insurance and protected from crippling medical debt.  

Under this grant, CSS will harness momentum and continue to lead two signature campaigns. For the Keep New York Covered Initiative, CSS will lead a learning collaborative for community-based navigators and coordinate partners to lead on-the-ground outreach campaigns. It will also track and synthesize outreach and enrollment data and identify best practices. For the End Medical Debt NY Campaign, CSS will coordinate and strengthen the campaign to educate the public and policymakers about proposals to address medical debt. It will generate public engagement and earned media through consumer stories, presentations, social media outreach, and opinion pieces. CSS will also work to ensure effective and expedient implementation of existing medical debt reform policies.