Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

A Coalition to Empower Health Care Consumers Across New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

July 5, 2016








New York has made substantial progress in covering the uninsured since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. However, many consumers still lack the tools to make important quality and cost decisions and remain unaware of or unable to engage in State- and industry-led efforts on health policymaking.

Although key constituencies such as insurers, hospitals, and the business community have well-financed associations that organize and present their views, consumers’ perspectives are usually not as well organized or represented. Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) is a coalition of organizations advocating for high quality and comprehensive health coverage. As the State’s leading consumer advocacy coalition, it both educates the public and represents the consumer perspective as it works to bring affordable, high-quality health care to all New Yorkers. In 2016, NYHealth awarded a grant to Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a co-founder of HCFANY and a current member of its steering committee, to support HCFANY in further engaging consumers in efforts to improve the quality and value of health care purchased in New York.

Under this grant, HCFANY continued its consumer engagement work in three areas: improving health system transparency for consumers; maintaining an active consumer voice in informing public policy; and securing consumer protections. To further these goals, HCFANY hired a coordinator, who resided at CSS, to serve as a shared resource for coalition members. The coordinator acted as a rapid response hub to ensure that HCFANY inserted the consumer voice into State health policy conversations. Specifically, the coordinator implemented strategic communications and education efforts, conducted policy support, and kept track of HCFANY’s goals and activities. The coordinator allowed the coalition to move the needle on several important issues: competition and choice in provider and health insurance options; health care price and policy transparency; and consumer protections. Co-funding for this project was secured from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies.