Community Service Society of New York
Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many small businesses want to find out how the new law will affect them once it is fully implemented.
To help small businesses in New York, the state has chosen Community Service Society of New York (CSS) to provide assistance and education regarding health care and health insurance. CSS has a long history of providing community-based health education.
The group launched Community Health Advocates (CHA) in 1999 to address the needs of groups identified in a survey as most likely to lose health coverage because of the complexities of managed care. They include low-income individuals, those with chronic illnesses, recent immigrants, and those with limited English language proficiency.
Designated as New York’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) under the ACA, CHA is responsible for educating health insurance consumers about their rights and responsibilities; assisting them with enrollment and renewal of coverage; helping them navigate coverage and benefits; and reporting back to policy makers.
With the national health reform becoming a reality, we are going to see changes in the way individuals receive health care. With all these changes, the CHA aims to ensure that all New York residents have access to affordable and quality health care by giving assistance to individuals and service providers as well.
For small businesses, CHA created the Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP). This initiative is composed of thirteen agencies that can provide small businesses with seminars and one-on-one counseling for free. Topics include:
- healthcare reform
- access to tax credits
- health insurance options available for employees
- coverage transitions and COBRA
- how to understand and comment on proposed insurance rate increases under the state’s new prior approval law
- choosing and working with brokers
- the advantages and disadvantages of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and other small group products
- …and many more
The thirteen business-serving groups received over half a million dollars in funding to assist small businesses in their area; helping them with their health care and health insurance problems.
SBAP will play a crucial role in the coming years as states are set to establish Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) under the ACA. HIX are marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop for or enroll into health insurance coverage.
SBAP will also help ensure that New York’s Small Business Exchange will address the needs of employers and employees in the state.
For more information about the SBAP program, visit their website at http://www.communityhealthadvocates.org/.