Goals of the Access to Health Care Team

The Access to Health Care Team at Health & Disability Advocates works to expand health care eligibility, access and coverage for low-income and special needs populations.

We advocate for changes in state and federal policies to allow more people to be eligible for and to enroll in government benefit programs. We seek to ensure that, once enrolled, recipients of health care programs get quality services and meaningful access to providers. We also work closely with state and federal governments to implement new programs, expand enrollment in existing programs, and increase access to services and providers.

Methods of the Access to Health Care Team

Our Access to Health Care Team is committed to direct service representation, as well as public policy formulation. Each year, our attorneys advise and represent over 2000 low-income persons on their individual rights to receive health care coverage and other benefits. Our team members are also proud to work collaboratively with a wide array of health care "stakeholders," including providers, other advocates, community-based organizations and consumers. We bring together individuals and agencies from diverse backgrounds and interests, and seek to find common ground in our policy formulation.

We believe that it is vital to collaborate with all stakeholders in order to form a partnership that will benefit providers, consumers and government entities. We have fostered unprecedented partnerships between providers, advocates, consumers, and state and federal governments through our collaborative projects: The Medicaid Leadership Group, the National Consortium on Heath Systems Development, and Project Access.

Recent Successes

Health & Disability Advocates has been in the forefront of state and national efforts to expand health care eligibility, enrollment, coverage and access to low-income populations. We were instrumental in the implementation of the 100% Campaign in Illinois which was a historic expansion of Medicaid coverage to low-income persons with disabilities. Over three years, Illinois raised the eligibility limits in the Medicaid program to increase enrollment to thousands of new beneficiaries.

Health & Disability Advocates was also instrumental in the implementation of the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities program that allows persons with disabilities who are employed to receive Medicaid through a cost-sharing premium. We continue to advocate for the expansion of this historic Illinois program as well as to conduct outreach and training to expand enrollment in the program.

Current Programs

Currently we are working on many initiatives in the tradition of expansion to health care coverage and enrollment that we have pioneered. We have been successful this last year in advocating for a system for Medicaid enrollees to pay a premium called a "spenddown" prospectively to ease the method by which they can receive coverage under the Pre-Pay Spenddown program to be piloted this year.

Through our Technical Assistance Project (TAP) , we are working to increase enrollment in Medicaid and other government medical programs by conducting trainings and providing educational materials to potential applicants and case handlers.

We have also advocated for changes to the KidCare program that have resulted in a significant number of children of low-income working parents continuing to receive Medicaid when their parentsí income increases.

We currently are working on changes to state policies to determine disability status for the purpose of qualifying for Medicaid. We are also helping to ensure that non-citizens qualify for emergency medical coverage in times of medical crisis. Finally, we are determining ways to allow more low-income persons to receive Medicaid and to secure additional federal funding for the state.

Documents In This Section Include:

For specific projects, training and technical assistance materials, advocacy briefs, and contact information, please see separate sections.