Expanding Health Care Coverage



Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage


October 18, 2017


This NYHealth issue brief examines at the Ambassadors for Coverage program, which trained community-based organizations throughout New York State to provide an on-the-ground presence in communities where they could encourage health insurance enrollment.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 offered a new, game-changing opportunity for NYHealth to have a much larger impact, as more than a million New Yorkers could gain health care coverage. Though the State took the lead in enrolling people in health insurance on the NY State of Health Marketplace, the State’s official health insurance plan exchange, NYHealth saw additional opportunities for progress. To complement the State’s enrollment strategy, NYHealth awarded a grant to the Empire Justice Center (EJC) to develop and administer the Ambassadors for Coverage program. Separate from the direct enrollment activities of the State’s Navigators and Certified Application Counselors, the Ambassadors focused on raising awareness of health insurance eligibility within hard-to-reach communities and populations, and then referred individuals to organizations where they could receive enrollment assistance.

The issue brief explores the genesis of the program and its strategies for raising awareness about health insurance options within hard-to-reach communities and populations. In the wake of slashed federal funding for outreach and enrollment programs, it also offers lessons for how the model can be used by organizations and state agencies nationwide to inform communities about changes in insurance coverage, eligibility, or other rules.