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CCHCC Saves Lives, Stabilizes Health,and Increases Economic Security.

Stories from the Front Lines – please support CCHCC!

June 2024

“D” – a young adult male – was sent to live in CU with an older relative who promised to look after him. Instead, “D” was isolated, used, and abused, and left with no prospects for improving his life. “D” and his adult relative became homeless and were living out of a broken down car with the relative’s dog, who was also mistreated. CCHCC’s involvement turned everything around for “D” and for the dog.

Dear Friends,

We at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) encounter many incredibly difficult situations when we work with individuals and families to help them get the health care and the resources that they need to improve their health and their lives. Our work – whether it is helping people get health insurance or prescriptions, or applying for public benefits such as Disability – can literally help save lives, stabilize people’s health, prevent homelessness, and increase economic security for our most vulnerable community members.

We met “D” and his older relative at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. We learned that they, and the relative’s dog, were living out of a broken down car since the relative had lost his home. “D” was shy and withdrawn. The relative was medically fragile. We started working with them to try to find them housing and stability. In the course of working with this small family, we began to suspect that “D” was not being cared for, and we witnessed the dog losing weight. After building some trust with “D” – especially around his deep concern for the dog – we learned that “D” had no ID, no food stamps, no hope for employment or education because of lack of ID and transportation. We were able to extract “D” and the dog from the older family member. The dog had become severely underweight and we knew it would die if it stayed with this relative. One of our co-workers quickly found a loving home for the dog, and the dog is doing well and is quite happy. Our co-worker was also able to help “D” get a State ID, food stamps, a bus pass, and transitional housing. As soon as “D” got his ID, he went out and got a job. We helped him get a checking and savings account at a local bank and he started saving money from his job. “D” was able to get his own apartment and is now living independently and he is happy and secure. He refers to the CCHCC staff who helped him as his “Aunties”.

Clients come to CCHCC in need of a variety of services. In the course of working with clients to address their needs, we often encounter situations that require a deeper and more intense involvement than what appears at first glance. As a small mission-driven non-profit, we have the ability to get deeply involved and to find creative solutions to the messiness of life that can destabilize community members and threaten their health and economic well-being. Some situations seems hopeless. We do not turn away from difficult situations – instead, we dive in and do all we can. To illustrate our work, here are a few more stories from the front lines of our work.

READ ON!

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New mental/behavioral healthcare options available at Promise Healthcare

May 20, 2024

Please see the information below to learn more about mental health and behavioral health services now available at Promise Healthcare.
 
Promise Healthcare’s psychiatric providers can see patients as young as 5 years of age, and up. Promise Healthcare’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners can provide medication prescribing, management, and monitoring.
 
In many cases, same day appointments are available, including for psychiatry.

Promise Healthcare’s Behavioral Health Programs
Information provided by Promise Healthcare’s Director of Behavior Health Services, Jim Hamilton.

Anyone can call Promise Healthcare at 217-403-5433 – if they receive a voicemail, leaving a message is best and the call is returned within 24 hours. It the need is urgent – call Promise’s main number at 217-356-1558.

READ ON!

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We have expanded services for special populations – please support CCHCC!!

March 2024

It has now been a year since we expanded our services to better support the needs of our community. Thanks to your help we have been able to help many more people through our dedicated homelessness benefits counselor, senior services specialist, and disability team. Having dedicated staff members for these populations means that we can increase the number of people we can serve and the services we provide!

Helping individuals who are homeless
Through partnerships with the Strides Shelter, Cunningham Township, City of Champaign Township, Daily Bread, Regional Planning Commission, the Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless, local law enforcement, and our local hospitals, we are making sure that those dealing with homelessness have access to the public benefits that they are eligible for like Medicaid, SNAP, disability, prescription assistance, and more. Our staff members are regularly at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and Strides Shelter to connect with clients directly.

Providing services for seniors
Aging in our community comes with many new situations, one of the biggest being Medicare. CCHCC’s dedicated senior services specialist understands Medicare and knows about the additional programs that might benefit seniors in the area. They have provided over 180 services in the last year related to Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Savings, Extra Help, and more! They can also help with applying for benefits like SNAP and the license plate discount through the Secretary of State.

Disability application assistance
After seeing the immense need for disability assistance in the community, CCHCC launched the disability assistance program. The disability team has provided over 200 services related to SSDI or SSI applications. That includes completing paperwork, requesting medical records or identifying documents, and completing appeals. These programs are very difficult to apply for, and most applicants in the state of Illinois are denied these benefits. Many applicants give up after numerous applications and appeals, only to suffer as a result of not being able to work and earn an income. CCHCC is able to help at every stage: initial application, appeals, and even multiple appeals. Regardless of the stage of your application, the disability team can help!

Health insurance enrollment work
Now with additional staff members, our Certified Application Counselors (CACs) have more capacity to help with Special Enrollment Periods for the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have moved, lost your health insurance, or had another type of life change in the last 60 days, you might be eligible to buy a health insurance plan on Healthcare.gov. And as tax season rolls around, it is important to remember to update your income if it has changed. Income changes could affect your financial assistance and CCHCC can help make those updates.

CONTINUE READING

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Thursday 2/29 – Community Speaker Series – Hope Village

March 27, 2024

Champaign County Health Care Consumers would you like to invite you to attend an event this week, on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m., at the Urbana Free Library on the topic of Hope Village.
 
The UIUC Humanities Research Institute is hosting a Community Speakers Series with the topic for Thursday focusing on Hope Village.
 
The event is free and open to the public. The information for the event is at the link immediately below, as well as in the text below:
https://calendars.illinois.edu/detail/6807/33472274
 
Event: Community Speaker Series – Hope Village Project
 
Featuring
:
 
Dr. Wanda E. Ward, Executive Associate Chancellor for Public Engagement, UIUC
 
Claudia Lennhoff, Executive Director, CCHCC
 
Moderated by Antoinette Burton, HRI Director and Professor of History
 
Date and Time: Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 7 p.m.
 
Location:  Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium
 
About Hope Village: Hope Village is a unique small homes community that will offer housing solutions for adult community members experiencing chronic homelessness and who are medically fragile.
 
To learn more about the UIUC Humanities Research Institute, you can visit the link below:
https://hri.illinois.edu/
 
We hope to see you there!

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Take action on nursing home care in Champaign County

As you know, the former Champaign County Nursing Home has been totally shuttered. The County Board sold the nursing home to Avi Rothner and his company, which then renamed it University Rehab. Mr. Rothner was to operate the nursing home – as a nursing home – for a minimum of 10 years. Four years into the operation, Mr. Rothner shut down the nursing home, after also failing to pay the bank loan, interest, and taxes for the purchase of the nursing home (despite providing proof from his bank at the time of purchase that he could have paid cash for the purchase of the nursing home).

The bank that issued the loan for the nursing home now wants to sell the nursing home, but needs the County Board to lift the deed restriction in order to allow the sale.

The sad story of this valuable community health asset continues, and the most tragic aspect is that Champaign County is severely underserved in terms of nursing home beds. Too many individuals in need of long term care or post-hospitalization rehab care are having to travel to communities far away in order to get the care that they need. This is a hardship for them and their families, as ease of visiting and supporting a loved one in a nursing facility is made more challenging by distance.

An amazing group of advocates, activists, health care providers, and local agencies have banded together to form a group called Advocates for Aging Care (AAC) and are working to create solutions for this health care crisis in our county. CCHCC is proud to be a member of the AAC. This is community health planning at its best!

To try to address the problem of lack of nursing care and aging care resources in our community, AAC has created a survey to try gather information on our community’s needs, and they will also be participating in the County Board’s Study Session, to be held TOMORROW at 6 p.m.

If you would like to help with , there are a couple of ways to do so.

READ ON!

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A Birthday and Anniversary Wish – Remembering Rev. James B. Holiman

February 1, 2024

Every year, the last days of January into early February mark two important milestones in my personal and professional life:
 
January 27 is my birthday – I turned 58 this year.
 
And today is the anniversary of when I started working at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC). Today marks my 27th year of working at CCHCC!
 
I cannot ever think of my birthday, or my CCHCC anniversary, without thinking about our recently departed beloved friend and leader, Rev. James B. Holiman.
 
Not only did Jim and I share the same birthdate (just 31 years apart!), but Jim helped lead me to CCHCC, where he eventually joined the organization as a member of the Board of Directors.
 
Jim passed away on November 26, 2023, at the age of 88. And we’ve all been missing him, grieving him, and celebrating his life and his works, and the profound gifts he gave us.
 
Rev. James B. Holiman led an incredible life. I am inadequate to the task of properly memorializing such a truly great person, but I can share his obituary with you further below, and also tell you a little bit about what he meant to me, personally, and to CCHCC as a whole.
 
It is my hope that you will consider honoring Rev. James B. Holiman with a financial contribution to CCHCC. It has always been Jim Holiman’s wish (and mine) that CCHCC continues its important work and that it can be financially solid for years to come.

To that end, if you would help me honor Jim Holiman by making a special contribution to his (and my) beloved CCHCC, I would be most appreciative! You can make a contribution here:

SUPPORT CCHCC!

READ ON

Jim & Claudia

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Thank you! Urbana City Council approved our Hope Village application!

January 3, 2024

It is with deep gratitude that I write again on behalf of Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) to thank you for your support for Hope Village!
 
We issued a call to action on December 28, in anticipation of last night’s Urbana City Council meeting, when City Council members would be voting to approve the Hope Village application for a Planned Unit Development.
 
Many of you responded to the call to action and took time to contact the Urbana City Council via email to express your support for Hope Village.
 
CCHCC staff, along with our partners from Carle Health, and the UIUC, and Hope Village supporters sat in the audience for the 2-hour meeting. We listened as your comments were read into the record. We were humbled and gratified by your support.
 
We needed five City Council members to vote YES to the Hope Village application in order for it to pass.
 
The Urbana City Council voted 5 to 1 to approve the Hope Village application for the Permanent Planned Unit Development!
 
There is a great deal of work ahead of us to bring Hope Village to life and to build the homes and house the people who need it most. We are not waiting a single moment to start this work! In fact, today started with a meeting among the partners and various city officials for us to plan the next steps for Hope Village.
 
Please stay tuned – CCHCC will keep you informed along the way!

Thank you for your support! You made a difference!

Sincerely,

Claudia Lennhoff
Executive Director
Champaign County Health Care Consumers

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There’s hope for community’s most vulnerable residents

Published in the News-Gazette
January 2, 2024

At 7 tonight, the Urbana City Council will have the opportunity to help advance a desperately needed housing solution for our community’s most vulnerable and medically fragile individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness.

The project is called Hope Village. It is not a shelter, and it is not transitional housing.

Hope Village is a development of 30 “tiny homes” and a community center that will provide permanent supportive housing to individuals who are medically fragile and experiencing chronic homelessness. Hope Village will fill a gap in Champaign County’s continuum of housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Individuals in this population typically have lifespans that are significantly shorter than the general population, by 20 or 30 years. They get sick and often die much sooner from preventable and treatable conditions. Hope Village is an innovative model developed from the perspective that “housing is health care”.

Hope Village will provide an array of intensive services to its residents, on site. These will include intensive case management; legal and financial counseling; assistance in applying for and accessing public benefits such as Medicaid/Medicare, SNAP and disability benefits; health care case management; access to health services via the Carle Mobile Clinic; and access to fresh produce via the Carle Mobile Grocery.

Some of these services will also be available to the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, as well.

READ ON!

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Urgent! We need your help one more time for Hope Village!

December 28, 2023

Thank you to each and every one of you who responded to CCHCC’s call to action earlier this month to support Hope Village! Your efforts made a difference!
 
We are now at the final hurdle, and, with your support, we can clear it!
 
Where things stand:
 
We are seeking the Urbana City Council’s final approval of a permanent “Planned Unit Development” for Hope Village. Earlier this month, on Monday, December 18, the Urbana City Council’s Committee of the Whole (COW) met and considered the Hope Village Planned Unit Development application. Thanks to an outpouring of support, the City Council voted 6 to 1 at its COW meeting to recommend the approval of the Hope Village application to the City Council at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
 
Your support is needed to help make Hope Village a reality!
 
Right now, we are seeking final approval of a permanent “Planned Unit Development” from the Urbana City Council so that we can proceed with building the Hope Village homes and development.
 
The Urbana City Council meets on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 7 p.m. and will be voting on the Hope Village permanent Planned Unit Development.

TO LEARN MORE AND TO HELP, READ ON!

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Local Health Care News

December 27, 2023

Two recent stories from CU-CitizenAccess on local health care issues.

Champaign residents warned the county about a nursing home operator. Now, four senior facilities are closed – December 18, 2023 – CU-CitizenAccess

Elderly Champaign residents mourn the loss of services at Inman; Half of residents leave – December 18, 2023 – CU-CitizenAccess

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Take Action! Support Hope Village

Housing for medically-fragile homeless individuals.

December 14, 2023

Your support is needed to help make Hope Village a reality.
 
Hope Village is a development of 30 “tiny” homes and a community center that will provide Permanent Supportive Housing to individuals who are medically fragile and experiencing chronic homelessness. Hope Village will fill a gap in our housing system for homeless individuals. Individuals in this population have lifespans that are significantly shorter, by 20 or 30 years. They get sick and often die much sooner from preventable and treatable conditions. Hope Village is an innovative model developed from the perspective that “Housing is healthcare”.
 
Right now, we are seeking approval of a  permanent “Planned Unit Development” from the Urbana City Council so that we can proceed with building the Hope Village homes and development. The Urbana City Council meets on Monday, December 18 at 7 p.m. and will be voting on the Hope Village permanent Planned Unit Development.
 
Please see below to learn more about Hope Village and what you can do to help with this exciting new development.

READ ON!

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December 2023 – Give the gift of health and security! Please support CCHCC!

December 2023

By now, most people know that CCHCC is the only organization in Champaign County that can help enroll community members in all forms of health insurance – whether that be Medicaid, Marketplace, or Medicare and Medicare-related programs. But did you know that CCHCC does far more than health insurance enrollment work?

Over the years, CCHCC has grown in our ability and expertise to help community members enroll in a wide variety of public programs because we saw the need in our community.

Helping individuals who are homeless
In 2023, CCHCC has had a “growth spurt” – once again, to rise to the challenges of meeting the needs of our community members. This means all of our community members, including those individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

CCHCC now has dedicated staff to work with homeless individuals and the various organizations in our community who also serve the homeless. We partner with the Strides Shelter, Cunningham Township, City of Champaign Township, Daily Bread, RPC, the Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless, local law enforcement, and our local hospitals to help deliver enrollment services. Our services include helping with Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Rx assistance, health care navigation, and disability applications for individuals experiencing homelessness.

We have also expanded our services to immigrants, seniors, and individuals with disabilities
In Champaign County, we have growing populations of low-income immigrants, seniors, and individuals living with disabilities who need help with health insurance, health care, and public benefits. Our work helping people apply for public benefits such as Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare Extra Help, Medicare Savings, AABD, disability programs like SSI and SSDI, and so on, is helping to create better financial stability for low-income individuals in these population groups.

DONATE NOW!

READ ON!

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Don’t miss Open Enrollment for Medicare, and for the ACA Marketplace!

November 22, 2023

Did you know that there are two Open Enrollment periods happening right now?
 
Medicare Open Enrollment started on October 15, and goes through December 7.
 
And the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace Open Enrollment period started on November 1, and goes through January 15, 2024.
 
If you have a Medicare-related plan such as a Medicare Advantage Plan or a prescription drug Part D plan, this is the time of year that you will want to check your plans and make sure they still work well for you.
 
And if you have an ACA Marketplace plan – or need health insurance – this is the time of year when you can sign up for a plan, or renew your current plan.
 
CCHCC can help! We help with both Open Enrollments!

Read On!

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It’s Open Enrollment Season for Medicare and Marketplace – CCHCC is here to help!

When fall begins, many people think of cooler weather and pumpkin spice in everything, everywhere. But for us at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), fall and winter mean the beginning of our busiest seasons as we gear up to help hundreds of local residents get their health insurance coverage during the Medicare and Marketplace Open Enrollment periods.

CCHCC provides both free direct services to local residents, and community education, so that everyone can make the best choices for affordable health insurance coverage.

CCHCC staff are the most experienced enrollment counselors in Champaign County for Medicare, ACA Marketplace, and Medicaid insurance plans. Our services are provided for free to community members. With your support, CCHCC can provide free, vital direct services to keep our community covered.

Health insurance enrollment – We’ve got you covered!
Health insurance enrollment work requires increasingly specialized knowledge and skills – whether for Medicare, or for the ACA Marketplace and Medicaid. Our federally-certified staff are the most experienced enrollment counselors in our community.

This means that anyone – young or old or in between; employed or unemployed; retired; low-income, middle-income, high income, or no income; currently insured or uninsured – can contact CCHCC and we will help them figure out what coverage is available to them, and we will help them get covered!

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7
If you would like to change your Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan, you will have the opportunity to change for the 2024 plan year starting October 15 – December 7, 2023. CCHCC staff can help you compare plans and complete those enrollments. Even if you already like your plan, it is important to review it during open enrollment to make sure it will remain the same for the following year and continue to cover your preferred medications and doctors.

Will you be enrolling in Medicare coverage for the first time? If so, CCHCC can help! Many people who are new to Medicare get overwhelmed by the process of signing up to begin Medicare Parts A and B coverage, and then having to decide whether or not to get an Advantage plan, a Supplement, and/or a Part D prescription drug plan. CCHCC’s experienced staff can help you learn about Medicare and help you choose the kind of coverage that best meets your needs.

Programs to make Medicare coverage more affordable. In addition to helping people sign up for Medicare coverage, CCHCC can also help evaluate each client for their eligibility for programs to help make Medicare coverage more affordable, including the Medicare Savings Program, which can help pay for certain Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance. Likewise, the Medicare Extra Help program can help pay the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage and co-pays for people who meet the income criteria. Both the Medicare Savings Program and the Medicare Extra Help Program are underutilized, as most people who qualify for these programs do not even know about them. CCHCC can help screen individuals for eligibility for these programs, and help with the applications.

Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace Open Enrollment – November 1, 2023 through January 15, 2024. The ACA Marketplace (healthcare.gov) Open Enrollment period is now from November 1 through January 15, for people who are seeking an individual health insurance plan – usually individuals who do not have coverage through their employer – and for those who need to renew their Marketplace plan. If you enroll in a Marketplace plan by December 15 and pay your first premium in that timeframe, then your plan will begin on January 1, 2024. If you sign up between December 16 and January 15 and pay your first premium in that timeframe, then your plan will begin on February 1, 2024.

READ ON!

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Tomorrow – Medicare Basics Workshop at Champaign Public Library!

September 12, 2023

It is that time of year again – time to prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment season!

Medicare Open Enrollment begins on October 15 and goes until December 7.
 
In order to help our community members prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment season, and to learn more about Medicare basics, CCHCC is teaming up with the Champaign Public Library to host a “Medicare Basics Workshop”, which is open to anyone who has Medicare or who will be new to Medicare.
 
Please see below for more information about TOMORROW’s workshop, and also about Medicare Open Enrollment.

Medicare Basics Workshop at the Champaign Public Library
 
WHAT:             Medicare Basics Workshop
 
WHEN:             Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 10 a.m.
 
WHERE:          Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820
                        Robeson Pavilion Room C
 
Description: At this workshop, CCHCC staff will provide participants with information about Medicare Open Enrollment, and what Medicare beneficiaries need to do to get ready for Open Enrollment. CCHCC will also provide information for those who are new to Medicare. The following topics will be addressed:
–       The main parts of Medicare (Parts A-D);
–       How to enroll in, or change plans with Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap/supplemental insurance;
–       Medicaid coverage for those who have Medicare;
–       And other programs for local Medicare beneficiaries.
 
Please wear a mask to this workshop!  COVID is in full swing in our community, so please help protect yourself and others. Remember that if you have been exposed to COVID, you can be asymptomatic for the first 3-5 days, but you can be actively spreading the infection to others.

READ ON!

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Jayapal, Booker, and Barragán Introduce Legislation to Lift Barriers to Health Care for Immigrants

July 27, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today in introducing the Health Equity and Access under Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Families Act, bicameral legislation that removes cruel and unnecessary barriers to health care for immigrants of all statuses. The bill proposes, for the first time in federal legislation, to allow states to include undocumented immigrants in Medicaid and CHIP and remove the 5-year waiting period for Medicare benefits for lawfully-present immigrants. 

Immigrants are significantly more likely than U.S. Citizens to be uninsured, leaving them at a higher risk for both adverse health and financial consequences. In 2024, immigrants will account for an estimated 8 percent of the population yet will make up a disproportionate 31 percent of the non-elderly uninsured population.

“We must finally guarantee health care to everyone as a human right — regardless of immigration status, income, employment, or anything else,” said Rep. Jayapal. “As a proud immigrant who came to this country alone at the age of 16, I know that the HEAL Act is an urgent, necessary, and just first step to eliminating senseless barriers to health care, making our communities healthier, and ensuring all immigrants get the care they need.”

“Everyone, regardless of their immigration status, deserves access to comprehensive, quality health care,” said Senator Booker. “By creating a more equitable health care system, we can create healthier communities and a stronger, more resilient economy.” 

“Every person deserves healthcare, no matter their immigration status,” said Rep. Barragán. “Healthcare is a human right, and we must remove the unnecessary barriers that prevent immigrant families from the medical care they need to live and thrive.  The HEAL Act will help reduce racial health inequities and ensure everyone has access to quality healthcare in their communities.”  

READ ON!

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Medicaid Redeterminations

CCHCC is here to help

August 8, 2023

Do you have Medicaid, or do you know someone who has Medicaid? If so, understanding the process for Medicaid Redeterminations is crucial, in order to maintain one’s Medicaid coverage.
 
Illinois Medicaid has started to renew benefits for the first time in 3 years, since the pandemic began!
In order to ensure ongoing coverage, Medicaid beneficiaries will have to do the following:

    •    Update your address!
    ◦    Online: https://ilhfspartner3.dynamics365portals.us/addressupdate/
    ◦    Phone: 877-805-5312
    •    Check your mail!
    •    Complete the application and return it!

People who only receive Social Security benefits will be automatically renewed and sent a notice of their renewal, but others will have to complete a household specific form to renew benefits over the course of the year.

Here is how CCHCC can help:
CCHCC can help Medicaid beneficiaries in several different ways. We can help clients:
    •    Complete paper applications;
    •    Create abe.illinois.gov accounts to complete renewals online;
    •    Update addresses online (having a current address is crucial!);
    •    Find their renewal dates; and,
    •    Submit by fax or online additional documentation as requested by DHS.

READ ON!

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CCHCC’s Disability Application Services Program is up and running!

Please support CCHCC!

June 2023

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is excited to let you know that our newly-created Disability Application Services Program is up and running!

CCHCC has had a vision for this program for many years because we know how difficult it is for individuals to work through the disability application process on their own. Applying for disability through the Social Security Administration is a truly brutal and baffling process, and all too often, people who need disability benefits tend to “give up” and are unable to get through the application process on their own. Research shows that people who have ”advocates” helping them with disability applications are far more likely to be approved for benefits.

CCHCC’s new staff members are already helping many community members apply for disability benefits! CCHCC is pleased to announce that Vivian Adams and Shea Belahi are our amazing Disability Application Specialists. Vivian also serves as the Coordinator of our Disability Application Services Program. Both Vivian and Shea are kind, compassionate, and highly skilled. We are so excited to have them on staff at CCHCC and joining Paulette Colemon and myself on the Disability Team. In July, we will also welcome Babatunde Amao to CCHCC as another Disability Application Specialist.

People who have disabling conditions that limit their ability to work and carry out activities of daily living, are also often suffering from poverty and struggling to make ends meet. CCHCC is uniquely situated to help individuals in this position because, not only can we help them apply for disability benefits, we can also help them apply for other benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), health insurance, energy assistance, free phones, and more.

What is “disability”, as a benefit? “Disability” as a benefit refers to the income supports programs that provide beneficiaries with monthly income, made available by State and Federal governments:

READ ON!

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Important resources for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

CCHCC can help!

May 9, 2023

If you are – or if you know of – a low-income Medicare beneficiary, there are important programs that help reduce out-of-pocket expenses to help make Medicare, prescriptions, and food more affordable. And CCHCC can help our community members enroll in those programs!

There are helpful programs that too many people do not know about, and are going underutilized by the people who need them the most.

These programs included Medicare Savings, Medicare Extra Help, and SNAP (food stamps).

Please read below to learn more about these programs, and how to get help with these programs for yourself, or someone you know.

READ ON!

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Take Action TODAY! The Rothner’s are requesting to sell off the nursing home AGAIN!

March 14, 2023

Tonight, the Champaign County Board will meet as the Committee of the Whole, and, as part of the meeting, will consider another request from the Rothners to be allowed to sell the former Champaign County Nursing Home to an entity that would use the space to create a drug and alcohol treatment center.
 
The Rothners are asking the County Board, once again, to let them out of the covenant where they promised to continue to operate the nursing home for at least 10 years. The Rothners have only operated the former County Nursing Home, now called University Rehabilitation Services of C-U, for less than four years.

CCHCC isurging community members to contact their County Board Members, or the County Board as a whole, to oppose the Rothner’s request to sell the nursing home. And/or, people can speak during public participation at tonight’s County Board Committee of the Whole Meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. The Agenda Packet for tonight’s meeting is posted here.

There has been some coverage about this in the news, which you can see here.

The Rothners are claiming that no harm would come to the community as a result of selling the former County Nursing Home and converting it to another type of treatment facility. But this is false. Right now, many community members who need nursing home or rehab care are being sent to facilities away from our community, where it is hard for their families and friends to visit them regularly. If this nursing home goes away, our community will have lost a total of three nursing homes, thanks to the Rothners.

The Rothners should NOT be allowed to sell the nursing home, and they MUST be made to abide by the covenant they signed when they were given permission to buy the former County Nursing Home.

READ ON FOR Q&A!

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We are expanding services for special populations – please support CCHCC!

March 2023

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is undertaking an enormous effort to serve even more people in our community – specifically focusing on “special populations” that are low-income and underserved in our community, and who are suffering the ravages and strain of living in persistent poverty.

CCHCC is building new programs to significantly increase services to these special populations and bring greater health and economic stability to their lives: low-income seniors, low-income people with disabilities, homeless and near-homeless individuals, and pregnant and parenting women incarcerated in the County Jail. Please read on to learn more about our exciting new initiatives, and what you can do to help support these efforts.

Hope Village – a tiny homes village for chronically and medically fragile homeless individuals: After many experiences working with medically-fragile homeless individuals in 2021 to help them get housed, CCHCC developed the idea of creating a tiny homes village with intensive case management services for chronically homeless individuals in our community. We saw first-hand how our county’s current system of housing that is available for homeless individuals does not work well for a subset of homeless people: the chronically homeless and medically-fragile homeless individuals. These are individuals who have many challenges, traumas, and health problems, who are not able to be easily housed and maintained in permanent housing.

CCHCC is excited to be collaborating with Carle and UIUC to create “Hope Village” – a tiny homes village to house this extremely vulnerable population. We believe that “housing is health”. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new project!

READ ON!

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Medicaid’s continuous enrollment guarantee is ending.

CCHCC can help!

Pandemic benefits established by Congress are coming to an end. One of the most important benefits has been the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Guarantee, which is now coming to an end. This is often referred to as the “unwinding” of Medicaid.
 
Please read on for more information below, and to learn how Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) can help those who have benefitted from Medicaid during the pandemic.
 
Background
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created an important health care safeguard for the poorest Americans – Medicaid eligibility and continuous enrollment in Medicaid, for people who might have otherwise lost it during the COVID pandemic.
 
This benefit allowed people to remain on Medicaid without having to go through the usual redetermination process, which is often fraught and often results in people losing their Medicaid coverage. This benefit has been in place for nearly three years. But now, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, Congress has set March 31, 2023 as a firm date for the end of continuous coverage.
 
After that date, states will once again have to conduct eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid. This will require states to do in a matter of months what they previously would have been doing continuously over multiple years.

READ ON!

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News from CCHCC

December 13, 2022

Senator Scott Bennett’s sudden and unexpected death. By now you have likely heard the very sad news of Senator Bennett’s tragic death. Senator Bennett was beloved by so many in our community, including CCHCC. He was an excellent State Senator who worked with CCHCC on several different issues, including 5th & Hill, and the Mahomet Aquifer. And he was a genuinely wonderful person who was kind, compassionate, pragmatic, and effective, and fun. In the coming days, CCHCC will write a tribute to Sen. Bennett. We, like so many, are utterly heartbroken.

READ ON FOR MORE NEWS

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Give the gift of health and security!  Please support CCHCC!

Health insurance and public benefits are complicated.

December 2022

By now, most people know that CCHCC is the only organization in Champaign County that can help enroll community members in all forms of health insurance – whether that be Medicaid, Marketplace, or Medicare and Medicare-related programs. But did you know that CCHCC does more than health insurance enrollment work?

Over the years, CCHCC has grown in our ability and expertise to help community members enroll in a wide variety of public programs, including SNAP (food stamps), LIHEAP (energy assistance), hospital financial assistance, disability benefits such as SSI/SSDI, as well as many other programs including Secretary of State discounts for seniors and others. CCHCC has grown our capacity to be able to provide these forms of assistance because we saw the need in our community.

However, did you know that Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) currently does not get any  federal or state funding to help community members enroll in health insurance or other public benefit programs? And yet, even without federal or state funding, CCHCC has been doing enrollment work for Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace plans, as well as other programs for years. And our services are free!

CCHCC staff are federally Certified Application Counselors, and we provide our free services to help thousands of community members get, and keep, affordable health insurance. Besides ACA Marketplace plans, our staff also help with Medicare enrollment, Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care plans.  

How can we do this work without federal or state grants? The funding that supports CCHCC’s enrollment work comes from community support – including from individual contributions from people like you!

DONATE NOW!

READ ON!

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Medicare Open Enrollment information; and updates for State Retirees – your options

October 20, 2022

Medicare Open Enrollment season is upon us! Medicare Open Enrollment takes place from October 15 to December 7, for plans that will take effect on January 1, 2023.
 
Please read this message to learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment, how to schedule with CCHCC for help with Medicare Open Enrollment, and what options exist for State Retirees.
 
Medicare is complicated! CCHCC is here to help. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older; certain younger people with disabilities; and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.
 
Medicare is complicated. There are many parts, and there are many options for additional coverage. And there are more expenses that go with Medicare than most people realize. To learn more about Medicare, go to CCHCC’s Medicare Open Enrollment Center.
 
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D prescription drug plan, the Medicare Open Enrollment period is a great time to review your plan for any changes for the coming year of coverage, or to change plans if needed. Even if you love your plan, CCHCC always encourages Medicare beneficiaries to review their plan for the coming year, as formularies for medications and other benefits can change.

READ ON

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Thank you for taking action on the nursing home!

Update from County Board meeting.

October 12, 2022

A big thank you to each and every one of you who took action in response to CCHCC’s action alert about the Rothner’s plan to try to sell the former county nursing home (now called University Rehabilitation Services of C-U) to a non-nursing home entity.
 
Your actions made a difference!
 
What happened at last night’s County Board Meeting:  Last night, several people spoke during Public Participation, urging the County Board to vote NO on the Rothner’s request to sell the nursing home. There were no speakers supporting the Rothner’s request.
 
The County Board voted, unanimously, to deny the Rothner’s request (not a common occurrence)!  Many spoke very eloquently and powerfully about why they would vote  no, and why the covenants in the sale contract mattered so much.

READ ON

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Take Action TODAY about the Rothner’s request to sell off the nursing home !

October 11, 2022

Tonight, the Champaign County Board will meet and, as part of the meeting, will consider the request from the Rothners to be allowed to sell the former Champaign County Nursing Home to an entity that would use the space to create a drug and alcohol treatment center.
 
The Rothners are asking the County Board to let them out of the covenant where they promised to continue to operate the nursing home for at least 10 years. The Rothners have only operated the former County Nursing Home, now called University Rehabilitation Services of C-U, for less than four years.
 
CCHCC issued an action alert last week on Friday with information about the proposed sale. We are urging community members to contact their County Board Members, or the County Board as a whole, to oppose the Rothner’s request to sell the nursing home. And/or, people can speak during public participation at tonight’s County Board Meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. The Agenda Packet for tonight’s meeting is posted here.

 If you’d like to review CCHCC’s Action Alert from this past Friday, you can see it here.
 
There has been some good coverage about this in the news, which you can see here.
WCIA
News-Gazette

READ ON FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Take action to keep Champaign County from losing ANOTHER nursing home!

October 7, 2022

Champaign County residents are about to lose ANOTHER nursing home. But we can stop this from happening, if we work together!
 
The Rothners, who are the current owners of the former Champaign County Nursing Home, which they bought in 2018, now want permission from the Champaign County Board to sell the nursing home and have it become something other than a nursing home.
 
This would mean that the Champaign County community would lose another approximately 220 skilled nursing facility beds.
 
We need your help to contact the County Board to oppose this proposed sale of the nursing home. Please read below for more information, and to learn about how to take action.

READ ON

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We’ve Got You Covered!Health insurance for all stages of your life

September 26, 2022

Fall and winter are the busy seasons for us at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), as we gear up to help hundreds of local residents get their health insurance coverage during the Medicare and ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment periods.

CCHCC – which does not receive any federal or state funds – provides both direct services to local residents, and community education, so that everyone can make the best choices for affordable health insurance coverage.

CCHCC staff are the most experienced enrollment counselors in Champaign County, for Medicare, ACA Marketplace, and Medicaid insurance plans. Our services are provided for free to community members. With your support, CCHCC can provide free, vital direct services to keep our community covered.

Health insurance enrollment – We’ve got you covered! Health insurance enrollment work requires increasingly specialized knowledge and skills – whether for Medicare, or for the ACA Marketplace and Medicaid. Our federally-certified staff are the most experienced enrollment counselors in our community.

This means that anyone – young or old or in between; employed or unemployed; retired; low-income, middle-income, high income, or no income; currently insured or uninsured – can contact CCHCC and we will help them figure out what coverage is available to them, and we will help them get covered!

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7. If you would like to change your Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription drug plan, you will have the opportunity to change for the 2023 plan year starting October 15 – December 7, 2022. CCHCC staff can help you compare plans and complete those enrollments. Even if you already like your plan, it is important to review it during open enrollment to make sure it will remain the same for the following year and continue to cover your medications and doctors.

READ ON.

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Medicare Basics Workshop – at Champaign Public Library

September 13, 2022

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) knows how confusing it can be when you are ready to start receiving your Medicare health insurance benefit at age 65.
 
That is why CCHCC is teaming up with the Champaign Public Library and CRIS Healthy Aging to present a workshop on Medicare Basics.
 
If you are going to be new to Medicare, this workshop will be very helpful. Also, if you already have Medicare and preparing for Medicare Open Enrollment – which begins on October 15 – so that you can choose or evaluate a Part D plan, or you are considering a Medicare Advantage Plan, this workshop will also be helpful to you.
 
Please see below for the details about tomorrow’s Medicare Workshop.
 
WHAT:           Medicare Basics Workshop
WHEN:          Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
WHERE:        Champaign Public Library, Robeson Pavilion Room A & B
                        200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820

 
DETAILS: Join us, grab a cup of coffee, and learn the basics of Medicare!
Adani Sanchez, Client Services Coordinator for Champaign County Health Care Consumers, will share information on basics of Medicare, and Medicare’s Open Enrollment, October 15 –December 7. Representatives from CRIS Healthy Aging Center will also be available to share resources on how to navigate through Medicare and more. 
 
Need one-on-one Medicare assistance? Adani will also be available to answer your questions. Register for an appointment through the link below or call the library at 217-403-2070 for assistance. 

Sign up for Medicare Help
 
Parking is free, and the Library is accessible.
 
We hope you will join us!

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Our area nursing homes are failing their patients

September 1, 2022

Ever since the Champaign County Board sold the county’s nursing home in 2018, the quality and options for skilled nursing care and rehab in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs; also known as “nursing homes”) in Champaign County has declined steadily.
 
CCHCC strenuously opposed the sale of the Champaign County Nursing Home for exactly this reason. We opposed the sale of the County Nursing Home on principle, because our research showed that county nursing homes provide higher quality of care because they have better staffing ratios since they are not trying to make a profit, and we also opposed the sale to the particular buyer that the brokers found for the county (the Rothners), because of the horrendous track record of their nursing homes.
 
Not only does our county have fewer nursing homes as a result of the sale of the county nursing home, and therefore fewer beds, to help care for an increasing aging population and those who need rehabilitation following a hospital stay – the nursing homes that remain are now severely understaffed.
 
Understaffing of nursing homes has a direct impact on patient care. And while many might think that the understaffing is a result of the pandemic, the truth is that understaffing in our area nursing homes is not simply caused by the pandemic. Understaffing of nursing homes is often a business model for the for-profit nursing home companies.
 
A recent story on WCIA-TV shows an all-too-common nursing home horror story. This story features Lisa Dixon, who is the co-chair of the CCHCC Board of Directors, and her sister-in-law, Lori Dixon (she has end-stage MS), who was a patient at Savoy’s CU Nursing and Rehab facility. Check out the reporting by WCIA’s Renee Cooper.
 
This story is all too common, and it is happening to too many of our community members. And the actual situation was far worse than what the news story was able to cover.
 
What happened to the nursing homes in our community? Champaign County used to have a few more nursing homes than we have now.

READ ON.

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CCHCC mourns brilliant and kind activist, Kathy Oberdeck

We have been graced by the steady, compassionate, and righteous presence of our friend and fellow activist, Kathryn Oberdeck.
 
Now, it is with heavy but grateful hearts, that Champaign County Health Care Consumers and our 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign is mourning a beloved activist and dear friend, Kathy Oberdeck.
 
Kathy passed away at home on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, after a fierce battle with a very aggressive cancer.
 
As in all other aspects of her life, Kathy faced her cancer and end of life with tremendous grace and strength, and with deep gratitude for the communities she had become such an integral part of, here in Champaign-Urbana, and across the country and the world.
 
Kathy Oberdeck’s involvement with CCHCC and the 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign began over six years ago, when Kathy reached out to me and asked if she could attend Campaign meetings. Our meetings at that time took place twice a month and they were at Mr. Pelmore’s home in the 5th & Hill Neighborhood. Kathy started attending meetings, and was immediately welcomed by the 5th & Hill resident leaders, who were pleased that someone at the University cared about their neighborhood and their struggle.
 
From the very beginning, Kathy impressed me and the resident leaders as a very intelligent, insightful, resourceful, and generous Historian, who demonstrated the researcher/practitioner model, and who was also a sensitive, patient, and effective teacher, helping me, our staff, and the neighborhood residents learn about the city and the history of the neighborhood and surrounding community.

Memorial Service for Kathy Oberdeck:

Below are the details for the memorial service for Kathy Oberdeck.

WHEN:  Friday, June 24, 2022

TIME: 11 a.m.

WHERE: St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 2200 S. Philo Road, Urbana

DETAILS:  Out of concern for those who are vulnerable, the family requests that attendees wear masks. The family will be setting up a scholarship fund at the university in Kathy’s memory. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family requests that any memorials be made to that fund when it is set up, to Sola Gratia Farm or to Champaign County Health Care Consumers

READ ON

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45 Years of CCHCC’s Grassroots Organizing for Health Care Access and Justice!

June 2022

This year, Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is celebrating 45 years of grassroots organizing for health care access and justice! Thanks to your continued support and involvement, CCHCC has had a definitive and lasting impact on our local health care system and human services since 1977.

You might be surprised to know that many of the local programs and services that improve our community’s health, and that we now take for granted, came about as a result of CCHCC’s community organizing work. This includes services such as school breakfast programs in county schools, hospital financial assistance programs for low-income people, nurse-midwives programs, prenatal care for low-income women, public health for county residents, free dental care for low-income county children, and more! These, and many more programs, are lasting legacies which CCHCC, with your involvement and support, has given our community.

In addition, over the past 25 years, CCHCC has worked on significant environmental issues including protecting the Mahomet Aquifer, as well as forcing a clean-up of the toxic site in Champaign’s 5th & Hill neighborhood (our 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign, which still continues its work). Additionally, CCHCC has helped bring the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to our community, helping to sign up thousands of community members for affordable health insurance. We have also started and continue to participate in ground-breaking initiatives to reduce incarceration rates and provide services in the Champaign County Jail, as well as working with individuals going through reentry in our community, following incarceration in prisons. And, during the pandemic, we have been working to help keep our community informed and to expand access to resources for hard-hit individuals and families, including providing direct financial assistance as a result of grants we were able to get.

From its inception, CCHCC has been committed to improving the health care system by making it more responsive to consumer needs. Often, this has required uncovering abuses within the systems and challenging unfair policies. Even though these protests have received the most media attention and fanfare, CCHCC is proudest of the program initiatives and positive developments with our local health care system that are a direct result of our work – work that involves bringing consumers together with health care providers to build enduring programs and services that improve people’s lives and health.

READ ON!

CCHCC Board and Staff – 1986.
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Health care news you can use, from your friends at CCHCC!

Please read below for some important health care news, brought to you by Champaign County Health Care Cosumers (CCHCC).

State of Illinois expands Medicaid coverage to ALL immigrants ages 42-54 – regardless of immigration status. Starting July 1, 2022, everyone in Illinois ages 42 and older will have a pathway to healthcare coverage, regardless of their immigration status.

This win is the result of 8 years of campaigning and thousands of hours of work by dozens of organizations and countless individuals. Congratulations to all who have made a phone call, sent an email, shared their story, and helped build this campaign. Because of you, tens of thousands of people in Illinois will have access to healthcare coverage, many for the first time in decades.

Our work isn’t done yet. We’ll keep fighting for healthcare for ALL, until every person in Illinois has access to healthcare coverage, no matter their immigration status. 

Our health is interdependent and we’re all safer when each of us has access to the healthcare we need. Thank you for supporting the fight for coverage for all!

COVID-19 has helped push the U.S. to its highest death total ever. 2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, and new data and research are offering more insights into how it got that bad.

The main reason for the increase in deaths? COVID-19, said Robert Anderson, who oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on death statistics.

READ ON

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We are still in the COVID pandemic. CCHCC is here to help you stay safe!

March 28, 2022

The COVID Mask Mandate has ended in most of the U.S. and most of the states. And, unfortunately, and most likely due to political pressures, the CDC has changed its guidelines for measuring risk and keeping communities and individuals safe. But the pandemic is not over, and two new variants are circulating, and more are sure to come – and not all variants will be “mild”. Even so-called “mild” variants have still managed to sicken and kills thousands of people, and produce “long COVID” cases.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) urges you to still continue to practice safety measures to keep yourself, your loved ones, and our community safe from COVID. Also, we want to let you know of resources that can help keep you safe.

Mask mandates are over – but we at CCHCC are continuing to mask up. Although the mask mandates are over, the virus is still circulating, and we are still in a pandemic. The pandemic is world-wide, and as long the virus continues to circulate (due to inadequate vaccination rates, reduction of precautions, travel, etc.), there will be new variants, and new cycles of increases in infections.

Remember that the singular purpose of the virus is to replicate itself – this is literally its reason for being – and it can only do that by infecting people. It is a very determined virus, and we are not yet out of the woods with it.

The bottom line is that you can still get infected and sick from the virus, because it is still circulating. People who are at high-risk due to age, pre-existing conditions, autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions, or unknown genetic conditions, can get very sick and die from this virus. Also, you might be at risk for severe illness and not even know it – not everyone is aware of whether or not they have an underlying condition. But whether you get sick from COVID or not, you can still infect others, and they can get sick.

READ ON

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The Mask Mandate has ended – but you still need to stay safe

March 10, 2022

The COVID Mask Mandate has ended in most of the U.S. and most of the states. But the pandemic is not over, and a new variant is circulating, and more are sure to come, and not all variants will be “mild”. So-called “mild” variants have still managed to sicken and kills thousands of people.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) wants to urge you to still continue to practice safety measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from COVID. Also, we want to let you know of resources that can help keep you safe.

Mask mandates are over – but we at CCHCC are continuing to mask up. Here’s why.
Although the mask mandates are over, the virus is still circulating, and we are still in a pandemic. The pandemic is world-wide, and as long the virus continues to circulate (due to inadequate vaccination rates, etc.), there will be new variants, and new cycles of increases in infections.

The singular purpose of the virus is to replicate itself, and it can only do that by infecting people. It is a very determined virus, and we are not yet out of the woods with it.

The bottom line is that you can still get infected and sick from the virus, because it is still circulating. People who are at high-risk due to age, pre-existing conditions, autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions, or unknown genetic conditions, can get very sick and die from this virus. Also, you might be at risk and not even know it – not everyone is aware of whether or not they have an underlying condition.

And, the medical and scientific communities are learning that even asymptomatic or “mild” infections can cause long-term lasting damage to the brain and cardiovascular system in a significant proportion of people who ever had the virus. The long-term impacts are no joke, and can be devastating.

READ ON!

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CCHCC remembers our dear friend, George R. Carlisle

December 16, 2021

Many of you who have lived in the Champaign-Urbana community for a long time are probably familiar with George R. Carlisle. George moved away from our community about ten years ago to go live near his sister and her family in Oklahoma.

Sadly, George died from COVID on November 28 of this year, in Bixby, Oklahoma.

George was a man about town. When George lived here, you may have seen him at performances at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, or you may have heard him sing in various church choirs. You may have seen him in older buildings in our community, on and off campus, taking photographs of old toilets and urinals, which seemed to fascinate him. You may even have seen him dumpster-diving after the students left at the end of the semester. And you would certainly have seen him at CCHCC events – at our holiday parties, community meetings, marches, and protests, or just hanging out in our office.

George was (as we say in Texas, where I’m from) a “character”. He was a totally unique and fascinating individual. He was a sort of gentle giant – tall and large with a strong presence, comfortable in any setting, and eager to talk.

George was most likely on the autism spectrum and he spoke in a monotone, with one sentence running right into the other, sometimes unendingly. But what he had to say was almost always fascinating and informative. George was extremely intelligent and well-read, and his interests were many and varied, and you could always count on learning something from him in every conversation.

READ ON!

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Marketplace Open Enrollment until Jan 15! Help give the gift of health!

December 15, 2021

Did you know that the Biden Administration extended the Open Enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace plans to January 15, 2022? This is great news for individuals and families who still need to sign up for health insurance for next year, and CCHCC is here to help!

Last week we wrapped up our work on Medicare Open Enrollment, and we were pleased to help so many of our community members sign up for the plans that work best for them, keeping them in-network with their doctors and making sure their prescriptions are covered!

Until recently, we were in the midst of two overlapping Open Enrollments: Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans AND the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace Open Enrollment for private health insurance and subsidies!

To learn more about the ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment, please visit our Marketplace Open Enrollment Center.

But, CCHCC provides more than enrollment help – we help people get the health care they need. As part of our enrollment services, we help people get set up with “medical homes” where they can receive primary and preventive care, and referrals for specialty care. We also help pay for people’s prescriptions when they can’t afford them, and we help our clients gain access to affordable dental, vision, and mental health services. Our work gives our clients the gift of health.

And, did you know that CCHCC is the only organization in Champaign County that can help local residents with BOTH Medicare Open Enrollment, as well as ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment? And, we also help with Medicaid enrollment, which is open year-round! And our services are FREE! You can help support CCHCC’s Open Enrollment work by sharing our information with others so that they can get help getting covered, and also by making a financial contribution to CCHCC.

Did you also know that Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) gets no federal or state funding to help community members enroll in health insurance? And yet, even without federal or state funding, CCHCC has been doing enrollment work for the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace plans since the very beginning – October 2013. And, we’ve been doing Medicare enrollment work even longer, and our services are free!

How can we do this work without federal or state grants? The funding that supports CCHCC’s enrollment work comes from community support – including individual contributions from people like you!

Please visit here to learn more about our work, and how you can help support us!

SUPPORT CCHCC!

Thank you for your support!
We appreciate your financial support for our services. Together, we are building a stronger, healthier community – together, we are giving the gift of health!

Sincerely,
Claudia Lennhoff
Executive Director
Champaign County Health Care Consumers

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Black Friday at CCHCC – Great Deals! Add us to your shopping list!

November 26, 2021

As you head out to the stores this morning (or sit down to shop online), consider adding Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) to your shopping list!

You’ll find great deals at stores or online, but your “purchase” with CCHCC will make a lasting impact in our community!

CCHCC offers both client services, and health care advocacy. We provide free services to over 300 clients per month, and we also organize and advocate for policies and legislation that improve our community’s health.

Below, you can check out CCHCC’s Great Deals, and also see the many ways you can support our work.

GREAT DEALS AT CCHCC!
We offer Great Deals on health insurance enrollment, access to care, and prescriptions for low-income individuals and families, as well as advocacy and community organizing!

We hope that in the spirit of the holiday season, you will consider making a Tax-Deductible contribution to CCHCC to “purchase” one of these great deals:

  • $200 – helps us advocate to keep and expand Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA.
  • $100 – helps us enroll a family in new affordable health insurance.
  • $50 – helps us teach local residents about COVID testing and vaccines.
  • $35 – helps us enroll an individual in new affordable health insurance.
  • $20 – helps us get a low-income individual approved for food stamps (SNAP).
  • $15 – helps us get an individual scheduled for a primary care appointment.
  • $2, $4, $10 – helps us cover the costs of prescription drugs to help manage chronic health conditions.

DONATE NOW!

Read on.

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Two overlapping Open Enrollment periods: Medicare and Marketplace!

November 16, 2021

We are in the midst of two overlapping Open Enrollments: Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans AND ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment for private health insurance and subsidies!

CCHCC is the only organization in Champaign County that can help local residents with BOTH Medicare Open Enrollment, as well as ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment. And, we also help with Medicaid enrollment, which is open year-round! And our services are FREE!

CCHCC is the ONLY organization in Champaign County that has trained, certified, and experienced staff who can help with BOTH Medicare and ACA Marketplace Open Enrollments, as well as Medicaid enrollment! CCHCC’s services are free. You can help support CCHCC’s Open Enrollment work by sharing our information with others, and also by making a financial contribution to CCHCC.

Please see below for information on both types of Open Enrollments, CCHCC’s Open Enrollment Centers for Medicare and for Marketplace, and to learn how CCHCC can help!

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment – from November 1 through January 15, 2022
Good news! The ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment period has been extended by one month! Now, instead of closing in mid-December, ACA Open Enrollment goes through January 15, 2022.

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7, 2021
Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug plans) takes place every year from October 15 through December 7.

READ ON

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Medicare Open Enrollment is upon us!

Go to CCHCC’s Medicare Open Enrollment Center!

October 14, 2021

Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans begins on Friday, October 15, 2021!

If you have Medicare, or will soon be new to Medicare, Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is here to help! Please see below for more information, and to learn about CCHCC’s Medicare Open Enrollment Center and what we’ve got available for you!

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7, 2021
Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug plans) takes place every year from October 15 through December 7, for the following year.

What if you don’t want to change plans because your plan works for you?
Even if you like your Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D Plan, we still encourage you to check your insurance plan for the coming year. Insurance companies are allowed to make changes to their plans and their drug formularies, so even if you like your plan, it is important to check it out during Open Enrollment to make sure that your plan will continue to work well for you, given any changes that may have been made.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Part D Plan, this is your opportunity to review your plan to make sure it will continue to meet your needs for the coming year, or to change plans, if needed.

READ ON!

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Remembering Sue Keller

October 7, 2021

In July of this year, many of us – and many of our organizations – lost a true and beautiful friend.

Susan K. Keller, 53, died peacefully at home in Urbana on Sunday, July 25, 2021, surrounded by family. She is survived by her mother, Kathy, and father, John; her brother, Dave, and sister, Karen; her husband, Ron; their children, Zoe and Lex; and two grandchildren, Avery and Mateo.

A celebration of life for Sue will be held this weekend, from 2 to 5 pm on Saturday, October 9, at the Lake House in Crystal Lake Park in Urbana.

Read more about Sue Keller.

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Rising to the challenge: Improving community health during the pandemic!

September 27, 2021

Champaign County residents continue to get vaccinated, which is great news. But we cannot ignore the fact that children under 12 years of age cannot get vaccinated, and in-person school has now started. Locally, we are seeing many “breakthrough” COVID cases in Champaign County. A “breakthrough” COVID case is when a person who has been fully vaccinated for COVID ends up getting COVID. As of August 30, 2021, masks are required for all indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. However, not everyone can be vaccinated, so it is important to protect our most vulnerable community members by getting vaccinated if you can. If you have already been vaccinated, talk to your family and friends and share your experience without judgement.

Pandemic challenges – we will continue to be cautious. CCHCC’s work to provide free services to community members, including health insurance enrollment and prescription assistance, continues but is much harder now that we have to work remotely and practice social-distancing. We are committed to keeping our clients and staff safe. Providing direct services to consumers is more complicated and time-consuming, and requires more back and forth – whether over the phone, email, text, zoom, or regular mail – to get everything done.

Doing even more. In addition, there is more work for us to do beyond our regular scope of work! For example, more medically-fragile homeless individuals with complex health care situations need help with shelter and housing as they fall through the cracks of our current community resources. CCHCC has stepped up to assist these individuals with motel stays, and with the process for obtaining subsidized permanent housing. Also, community members need even more information about, and help accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. We are sharing information about vaccine clinics and answering questions that folks have about getting vaccinated. We are doing all of this while helping our clients find affordable healthcare!

DONATE NOW!

READ ON!

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ACA and Medicaid updates – CCHCC is doing what it takes to serve our community!

July 7, 2021

Even though we have made great strides in reducing the number of COVID cases and getting community members vaccinated, we cannot pretend that the pandemic is over. Children under 12 are not yet able to get vaccinated and there are many adults who are not able to get vaccinated due to health conditions or obstacles. There are even more who are refusing to get vaccinated.

We must continue with caution, especially given the new and highly transmissible Delta variant. Please keep wearing your mask indoors at grocery stores and other such places, and talk to your friends and family about getting vaccinated—without judgement.

Pandemic challenges – we will continue to be cautious.
CCHCC’s work to provide free services to community members, including health insurance enrollment and prescription assistance, is much harder now that we have to work remotely and practice social-distancing. We are committed to keeping our staff and clients safe. Providing direct services to consumers is more complicated and time-consuming, and requires more back and forth – whether over the phone, email, text, zoom, or regular mail – to get everything done. In addition, there is more to do beyond our regular scope of work! For example, more medically-fragile homeless individuals with complex health care situations need help with shelter and housing as they fall through the cracks of our current community resources. Also, community members need more information about, and help accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. We are sharing information about vaccine clinics and answering questions that folks have about getting vaccinated. All while helping our clients find affordable healthcare!

Thankfully, health insurance is more accessible and affordable than ever before! Not only has the ACA survived another Supreme Court challenge, but the Open Enrollment period has been extended. And, in the state of Illinois, Governor Priztker has just signed a law extending Medicaid benefits for pandemic enrollees until 12 months after the pandemic emergency expires. This means that we have even more opportunities to get our community members covered!

DONATE NOW!

Read on!

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CCHCC mourns beloved 5th & Hill leader, M. D. Pelmore

July 1, 2021

Dear friends,

A mighty oak has fallen.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers and our 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign is mourning a beloved leader and dear friend, Mr. M.D. Pelmore.

Mr. Pelmore passed away on the night of Friday, June 25, 2021.

For more than 13 years, Mr. Pelmore has been a resident leader of the 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign. And he has been an extraordinary leader – strong, generous, kind, determined, and undeterred. Mr. Pelmore was sweet, welcoming, gracious, and nurturing to all of us working on the Campaign. But his gentle exterior belied his fierceness and tenacity when it came to advocating for justice for the 5th & Hill neighborhood – his neighborhood.

Yes, a mighty oak has fallen.

But even as we mourn Mr. Pelmore, we are also filled with gratitude and wonder for having our lives enriched and made better for having had the honor of knowing and working with Mr. M.D. Pelmore. I do not exaggerate when I say that anyone who knew Mr. Pelmore, and who was on the side of justice, had their lives graced simply from knowing this extraordinary man.

Read on for more and details about Mr. Pelmore’s service tomorrow – Friday, July 2, 2021.

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Expansions of health insurance AND subsidies!

Help us get everyone covered!

May 11, 2021

CCHCC is happy to announce that, recently, there have been expansions in health insurance coverage through both the Medicaid program and the ACA’s Marketplace! Subsidies on the Marketplace have now also been made MORE generous, and even if you already have a subsidy, you might want to see if you qualify for an even better subsidy! These expansions mean that we can get even more community members covered, more affordably! Please read on, and then help spread the word!

ACA Marketplace – Expanded Enrollment Period AND Increased Subsidies!
Did you know that the American Rescue Act included new, more generous benefits for the Health Insurance Marketplace (Healthcare.gov)?

The American Rescue Act created a new Special Enrollment Period until August 15, 2021! So, if you’d like a Marketplace plan (most people qualify for generous subsidies!) but missed the Open Enrollment Period at the end of last year, you now have new opportunities to sign up for a Marketplace plan, until August 15, 2021!

Also, the American Rescue Act increased the subsidies that people can qualify for – even those who already have a Marketplace plan and a subsidy! To benefit from these additional subsidies, you must redo your application to receive a new eligibility determination with the updated amount, otherwise you will receive your subsidy in the form of a tax credit when you file your taxes for 2021. You can contact CCHCC for help with this.

READ ON!

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CCHCC is on the front lines of serving our community in the pandemic!

April 14, 2021

Spring is here, and normally Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) would be preparing for our Annual Awards Dinner and our Adbook during this time. However, because of the pandemic, it is still not safe to gather, so CCHCC will not be hosting our Annual Awards Dinner or preparing an Adbook for this spring.

If you would normally contribute to, or attend the CCHCC Dinner, or purchase an ad in our adbook, we instead ask that you consider making a contribution to support our work, which is more expansive and challenging than ever!

DONATE NOW!

Pandemic challenges – what is required of us. CCHCC’s work to provide free services to community members, including health insurance enrollment and prescription assistance, is much harder now that we have to work remotely and practice social-distancing. Providing direct services to consumers is more complicated and time-consuming, and requires more back and forth – whether over the phone, email, text, zoom, or regular mail – to get everything done. In addition, there is more work beyond our regular scope of work! For example, more medically-fragile homeless individuals with complex health care situations need help with shelter and housing as they fall through the cracks of our current community resources. Also, community members need more information about, and help accessing the COVID-19 vaccines. Thankfully, there is a new Open Enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace at healthcare.gov. CCHCC is working on all of this, and more!

READ ON!

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Rent assistance, vaccinations, and stimulus payments!

March 19, 2021

Many Champaign County residents are struggling financially, as well as struggling to get information that they need to help them get vaccinated, and/or to help them get their stimulus payments. CCHCC is here to help!

You can help our community members by sharing this information! Below are the resources and updates CCHCC wants to share with you.

Rental Assistance in Champaign County
Champaign County’s Regional Planning Commission is offering help to individuals and families who have past due rent, water, power, and sewer bills!

To get help, please visit the RPC’s website.

For rent assistance, you can also see the online application form here.

READ ON!

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Medicaid and ACA Marketplace – good news updates!

February 9, 2021

We at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) are happy to share some good news with you regarding the State of Illinois Medicaid program, and the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace for health insurance!

You can help our community members by sharing this information and letting people know that if they need help with health insurance, they can contact CCHCC for help. Below are the updates CCHCC wants to share with you.

Enrollment for Illinois Medicaid is open year-round!
CCHCC wants to remind everyone that enrollment in Medicaid is open year-round! There is no particular open enrollment period, so people can apply year-round, and CCHCC can help! As an example of who can qualify for Medicaid in Illinois – an individual earning less than $17,609 annually is eligible for Medicaid. A couple earning less than $23,791, is eligible for Medicaid.

And, Medicaid has NO monthly premiums, NO deductibles, and very low or no co-pays for doctors’ visits and prescriptions.  

IL Medicaid has been expanded to cover elderly low-income immigrants!
Illinois has made history as the first state in the nation to extend health insurance coverage to immigrant seniors! As of December 1, 2020, low-income immigrant seniors can qualify for Medicaid coverage. A social security number is NOT required! CCHCC can provide free help with those enrollments.

Read the rest of the good news here.

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CCHCC mourns beloved 5th & Hill Neighborhood Leader, JB Lewis

Champaign County Health Care Consumers and our 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign is mourning a beloved leader and dear friend, Jerry (JB) Lewis.
 
Even as JB struggled with pancreatic cancer, he continued to be a stalwart neighborhood resident leader of the 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign, showing up for strategy meetings, community meetings, press conferences, and campus teach-ins whenever he could – even when he was undergoing treatment for his cancer.
 
JB Lewis passed away on Friday, January 1, 2021.

Read more.

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Support CCHCC – Help give the gift of health!

Did you know that CCHCC is the only organization in Champaign County that can help local residents with BOTH Medicare Open Enrollment, as well as ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment? And, we also help with Medicaid enrollment, which is open year-round! And our services are FREE! You can help support CCHCC’s Open Enrollment work by sharing our information with others so that they can get help getting covered, and also by making a financial contribution to CCHCC.

Did you also know that Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) gets no federal or state funding to help community members enroll in health insurance? And yet, even without federal or state funding, CCHCC has been doing enrollment work for the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace plans since the very beginning – October 2013. And, we’ve been doing Medicare enrollment work even longer, and our services are free!

How can we do this work without federal or state grants? The funding that supports CCHCC’s enrollment work comes from community support – including individual contributions from people like you!

DONATE NOW!

Read more.

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ACA Marketplace AND Medicare Open Enrollments – CCHCC can help!

November 9, 2020

We are in the midst of two overlapping Open Enrollments: Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans AND ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment for private health insurance and subsidies!

Please see below for information on both types of Open Enrollments, CCHCC’s Open Enrollment Centers for Medicare and for Marketplace, and to learn how CCHCC can help!

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment – from November 1 through December 15, 2020
There is a lot going on with the ACA (that will be a subject for a different email!), but it’s important to remember that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law of the land! So, that means that private health insurance, and subsidies to make that insurance affordable, are still available through the ACA Marketplace! Also, for lower-income folks, Medicaid is still available, and Medicaid enrollment is available year-round. If you are not sure whether you qualify for a Marketplace plan with a subsidy, or for Medicaid, we can help you figure that out!

Most folks who get their health insurance through the ACA Marketplace need help and guidance with their enrollment process, and with applying for financial assistance. CCHCC is here and ready to help!

If you need help with your ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment, please contact CCHCC to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable staff! To contact CCHCC for help, please call our office phone and leave a voicemail message at 217-352-6533, or send us an email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org. We will contact you to schedule your appointment!

You can also visit CCHCC’s ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment Center.

Read on.

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Vote YES on the IL Fair Tax Constitutional Amendment!

October 29, 2020

Did you know that working people in Illinois pay more of their income in taxes than wealthy Illinoisans?

Currently, all Illinoisans pay a flat tax of 4.95% across the board. This means that all incomes are taxed equally. The federal government, and most states in our nation, levy income taxes via a system of tax brackets — the more you earn, the higher your tax rate as a percentage of income. Illinois is one of a handful of states that do it differently, using a 4.95% flat tax rate that’s the same whether you’re a millionaire or an hourly worker earning minimum wage. The obvious problem with that is, while 4.95% means a lot more money from the millionaire than from the minimum wage worker, it’s a far more significant hit to the minimum wage worker, who is likely already living on the edge financially.

Illinois’ current tax system is unfair for middle and lower-income families – taxing everyone at the same rate, regardless of income.

The Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) has endorsed the Illinois Fair Tax constitutional amendment, and we urge every IL voter to vote “YES” for the Fair Tax!

Please read on for more information about the Fair Tax constitutional amendment, and to learn more about why our state’s current income tax system is problematic, both for tax payers, and for our state’s economy. You can also see the tax brackets that would be created under the Fair Tax.

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Medicare Open Enrollment is now!

Go to CCHCC’s Medicare Open Enrollment Center!

Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans is happening now!

If you have Medicare, or will soon be new to Medicare, Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is here to help! Please see below for more information, and to learn about CCHCC’s Medicare Open Enrollment Center and what we’ve got available for you!

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7, 2020
Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D (prescription drug plans) takes place every year from October 15 through December 7.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Part D Plan, this is your opportunity to review your plan to make sure it will continue to meet your needs for the coming year, or to change plans, if needed.

CCHCC staff are available to schedule appointments to help answer your Medicare-related questions and to help guide you through your decisions about whether to keep or change your plans. Also, if you are going to be new to Medicare, CCHCC can help you get set up for your Medicare enrollment and the decisions you will need to make about your coverage.

In addition, CCHCC can help provide information about programs like Medicare Extra Help and Medicare Savings, that can help lower the costs of Medicare expenses for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

If you need help with your Medicare Open Enrollment, please contact CCHCC to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable staff! To contact CCHCC for help, please call our office phone and leave a voicemail message at 217-352-6533, or send us an email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org. We will contact you to schedule your appointment!

Read more.

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Open Enrollment is almost here! CCHCC is here to help!

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is gearing up to help our community members with both Medicare and ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment periods!

CCHCC is the ONLY organization in Champaign County that has trained, certified, and experienced staff who can help with BOTH Medicare and Marketplace Open Enrollments, as well as Medicaid enrollment! CCHCC’s services are free. You can help support CCHCC’s Open Enrollment work by sharing our information with others, and also by making a financial contribution to CCHCC.

How CCHCC will do Open Enrollment work during the pandemic:
Normally, CCHCC would hold Community Meetings for each Open Enrollment, in order to provide information, answer questions, and set up appointments. We cannot hold Community Meetings this year because of pandemic restrictions, but we are still gearing up to help our community! We will provide our help by producing on-line presentations that can be viewed and shared (stay tuned for announcements for when those will be ready!), scheduling appointments for one-on-one help with enrollment, and providing written resources and information that will be posted on our website and shared through email and social media.

CCHCC has you covered!

Medicare Open Enrollment – from October 15 through December 7, 2020

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment – from November 1 through December 15, 2020

Read on.

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The fight to protect our health and our democracy during the pandemic – here’s how we win!

September 17, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic – and the mishandling of it by the Trump Administration and our federal government – has put our lives at risk. This is no time to play politics with public health, or our health care and health insurance. And yet, that is exactly what the Trump administration is doing. At the very moment that people need guaranteed access to quality, affordable health care, the Trump administration is fighting to undermine and destroy the Affordable Care Act, and our nation’s public health infrastructure.

On November 10, just one week after the presidential election, the Trump administration will ask the Supreme Court to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But for now, the ACA is still the law of the land. As people lose wages, employment, and employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic, the ACA is there to pick up the pieces and provide health insurance coverage. But if the Trump administration has its way, the ACA and all the consumer protections and guarantees that it provides for those with private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid, will soon be gone.

CCHCC has a big job to do this fall, and we need your help and support! The threats this nation is facing could have far-reaching consequences on the lives of millions of Americans, and on the future of all forms of health insurance in the U.S., including Medicare and Medicaid. These threats also bring into sharp focus the importance of voting in elections – policies and laws are made by elected officials and the people they appoint to the courts. CCHCC is organizing to register, educate, and empower health care voters!

But even as these threats escalate, individuals and families in our community still need help getting covered and navigating the ACA’s Marketplace and Medicare. Open Enrollment periods for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and for the ACA Marketplace are quickly approaching, and CCHCC is gearing up to help our community get covered.

Read on.

DONATE NOW!

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COVID-19 Testing in Champaign County: what you need to know

August 17, 2020

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is here and ready to help! Even though our office remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are still on the job and available to serve clients remotely.

If you need our services, please call or email us. You can call us at 217-352-6533, or send us an email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org, and we will respond as soon as we can. Please leave us a message, and please be patient – we will contact you as soon as we can. Because we are working remotely, our Staff have a little more work to do in order to communicate amongst ourselves and to coordinate our responses, but we will get back to everyone who contacts us! In this challenging time of the coronavirus pandemic, CCHCC wants to continue to provide information and resources to you. Many people have contacted us to ask about where they can go to get tested for the Coronavirus, and under what circumstances they will be allowed to get a test.

We are fortunate in Champaign County to have a drive-up facility organized by the Illinois Department of Public Health, open to everyone, as well as several healthcare providers who are also doing Coronavirus testing, and the University of Illinois (for students, faculty, and staff).

Go here for information on where you can go to get tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Support the businesses that support CCHCC

Although we are saddened that we will not be able to gather together for the Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) Annual Awards Dinner this year to celebrate our 43rd Anniversary, we are grateful for your support, and the support of local businesses and organizations that are represented here in our 2020 Adbook.

For the last 43 years, CCHCC has been in the forefront of working to improve our community’s health, improving access to care, dealing with emerging issues in health care, fighting for justice, and making concrete improvements in people’s lives. And we could not have done it without you!

Although we cannot gather for our annual celebration, CCHCC staff are still working very hard every day to serve our community during the coronavirus pandemic. We have had an increase in the number of clients we are serving as a result of community members losing employment and income, and needing extra resources during our state’s Shelter-in-Place order. And, clients turning to us are also in greater distress and have more complicated situations and require greater support from CCHCC’s staff – our Community Health Workers. More community members are turning to us for help in accessing public benefits for the first time in their lives, unaccustomed to navigating the public benefits systems.

READ ON.

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My mom, and CCHCC

July 6, 2020

Dear Friends,

I write this message with the heaviest of hearts. My beautiful mother – Marja-Liisa Lennhoff Eskelinen – died on Saturday evening, the 4th of July.

My family is all down in TX, and it is heartbreak on top of sorrow that I was not able to be with my mom when she died. The coronavirus pandemic has made travel complicated, treacherous, and at times, impossible. So many families around our nation, and the world, are going through the same thing – grieving at a distance, and unable to bask in the light of love that is sometimes possible and necessary at the end of life.

I want to tell y’all a little bit about my mom, and about her love for CCHCC and the work that we do. This is not an obituary for my mom, but a bit of a celebration of a beautiful life, and how that life contributed to the beautiful organization that we all have built – CCHCC.

Marja-Liisa Lennhoff Eskelinen
My mom was a World War II baby, born on May 31, 1939 in Finland. Her father was a scout on horseback for the Finnish military, which was fighting Russia at that time. My mom’s father was killed when my mom was 2 years old. From then on, my mom had a very hard life – poverty, abuse when sent to live with another family, various illnesses including encephalitis, and more. But she was tough and resilient. She was a survivor.

Eventually, my mom was able to travel to the United States, the ward of a Finnish lady who was a domestic servant for a rich family in White Plains, NY. That Finnish lady is who I knew as my grandmother (she adopted the name “Mary Lake” to try to seem more American) when I was growing up. My mom arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15. She entered nursing school and worked as a domestic servant with her foster mom. Eventually, my mom became a nurse and worked at the White Plains, NY hospital, where she met my dad, Miguel Lennhoff. I treasure my mom’s gold pin that she received upon becoming a nurse.

My dad was doing his medical residency in White Plains, NY, where he arrived from Mexico. He grew up in Mexico after his mom fled Austrian Nazis. That’s a whole other story that I won’t get into now.

My parents fell in love and got married, and then had to move to Mexico so that my dad could finish his medical school. Both of my parents spoke English as a second or third language. That was the language they had in common. But then, of course, my mom had to learn Spanish when they moved to Mexico. And she did.

My parents had three children while in Mexico. I am the middle daughter in between two brothers.

DONATE TO CCHCC.

Continue reading.

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CCHCC condemns Trump Administration’s U.S. Supreme Court Filing to Overturn the ACA

July 1, 2020

Unbelievable, unprecedented, and inhumane. In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic that is gripping the world and our nation, the Trump administration submitted a last-minute late-night filing urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week on Thursday night, June 25, 2020.

It is unprecedented in our nation’s history that the federal government, much less the president’s administration, would go to court to oppose and urge that a federal law like this be overturned and nullified. Normally, the role of the administration and federal government would be to support the law.

But, of course, we are talking about the Trump administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no regard for the nation’s health, or the institutions, policies, regulations, and laws that aim to protect our nation’s health. Efforts to overturn the ACA, especially when accompanied by no plan whatsoever to provide some other form of coverage, demonstrate that these moves are not about health policy, but about the ugliest and most dangerous of politics.

About the Trump administration’s Supreme Court filing
The Trump administration submitted its last-minute filing on Thursday night for the ACA case that will be argued this fall in the Supreme Court. The Trump administration’s filing comes on the same day that the federal government reported that close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 have gotten coverage through HealthCare.gov. (By the way, that number does not include individuals who have gotten coverage through state-run exchanges or through Medicaid.)

Amazingly, the Trump administration’s legal brief makes no mention of the virus or of American’s reliance on the ACA during the pandemic.

In the case before the Supreme Court, Texas and other conservative-led states argue that the ACA was basically rendered unconstitutional after Congress passed tax legislation in 2017 that eliminated the law’s unpopular fines for not having health insurance, but left in place its requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage.

After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017 when Republicans fully controlled Congress – thanks to the activism of millions of Americans, including those in Champaign County – Trump has put the weight of his administration behind the legal challenge.

Read More.

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“Let It Be” music video – to benefit CCHCC and Promise Healthcare

June 26, 2020

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) and Promise Healthcare are the beneficiaries of a creative and beautiful musical tribute, put together by local musicians and singers, which is available to be seen and listened to today.

Donations from those who view/listen to the tribute will benefit both organizations. CCHCC’s Executive Director, Claudia Lennhoff said “We are deeply grateful to everyone involved in this amazing project. They donated their talents, their time, and their resources to put together a beautiful and moving music video that provides some solace in these challenging times, and that lets community members know that CCHCC and Promise Healthcare are here to help our community, and that together, as a community, we will get through these difficult times.”

The musical message:
Champaign-Urbana Illinois has a great treasure its music and art community. In the face of change and pandemic, a remarkable group of 41 singers and 15 musicians have come together to elevate the spirits of their cities and beyond, with a recorded musical message and video: “Let It Be”. All proceeds from the recording will be donated to Promise Healthcare who work diligently to provide affordable and accessible high-quality health care and Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) who help provide quality affordable health care for all and environmental health and justice.

How to make your donation:
A fund has been established with the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois and additional donations for these organizations can be through the Community Foundation’s website or to the Community Foundation at: 307 W University Ave, Champaign, IL 61820.

In order to ensure that the donation is dedicated to this project, donors should write in “CU Sings”, or CCHCC (or Promise Healthcare) in the “Designation” section of the donation form.

Or, you can donate directly to CCHCC.

Read more.

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43 years of grassroots organizing for health care access and justice!

June 17, 2020

The novel corona virus pandemic has upended everything – everyone is trying to adjust to a “new normal.” Like everyone else, Champaign County Health Care Consumers has also had to find ways to adjust, while continuing to serve our community, and rising to the challenge of helping to meet an increasing demand for our services – more people need us now, and their needs are more complicated and challenging. Your support makes it possible for us to rise to the challenge of this moment, and to improve the lives of our community members.

No Annual Awards Dinner to celebrate our 43rd year. In the interest of everyone’s health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic, Champaign County Health Care Consumers has canceled our 2020 Annual Awards Dinner, which would have been held in May of this year. This year’s Annual Dinner would have marked our 43rd year, and would have been an important social and fundraising event for our organization. We very much miss the camaraderie and joy of being able to gather with our friends and supporters at our annual celebration.

Although we cannot gather for our annual celebration, CCHCC staff are still working very hard every day to serve our community during the coronavirus pandemic. We have had an increase in the number of clients we are serving as a result of community members losing employment and income, and needing extra resources during our state’s Shelter-in-Place order. And, clients turning to us are also in greater distress and have more complicated situations and require greater support from CCHCC’s staff – our Community Health Workers. More community members are turning to us for help in accessing public benefits for the first time in their lives, unaccustomed to navigating the public benefits systems.

Fortunately, CCHCC is a dedicated, dynamic, and nimble organization with highly skilled and experienced staff.

DONATE NOW!

Read more.

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How to apply for Unemployment benefits in Illinois

June 1, 2020

If you have lost work, you can apply for Unemployment benefits in Illinois. If your job loss is due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive additional unemployment benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

If you need to apply for Unemployment benefits, and/or if you’ve tried to applied but have had problems with the online portal, please read through this entire message to find information about how to apply online, or by phone, and when to apply – there is a filing schedule based on the first letter of your last name. To see the filing schedule, please see the bottom of this message.

Rental Assistance and Unemployment
Many of the rental assistance programs available right now require proof to show that you have filed for Unemployment benefits. Whether or not you receive those benefits, having proof that you have filed for Unemployment can help you apply for rental assistance. For Rental Assistance programs in Champaign County, please visit here.

Applying for Illinois Unemployment
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has set up a process to help individuals gain unemployment benefits, should they experience loss of employment due to the pandemic.

If you visit the home page of IDES you will find several links. However, if you scroll down to the News and Announcements section, you can see updates from IDES. The IDES shared an announcement on May 6, 2020, that can help you understand how to apply for unemployment. Here is the link for the information.

Read More.

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Victory!

IL Will Cover Low-Income Uninsured Seniors Regardless of Immigration Status

*Este mensaje se repetirá en español a continuación*

Thanks to your advocacy efforts last week, we have an Illinois victory to celebrate!

Illinois will be the first state in the nation to offer comprehensive health insurance coverage to low-income undocumented seniors!

This is an important first step toward achieving universal health coverage in the State of Illinois for all Illinois residents, including all immigrants. Not only will this help the particular individuals who will gain coverage, but it will also help ensure greater public health protections for all communities, as more people gain coverage and can seek timely healthcare without fear of unaffordable medical debt.

READ MORE!

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Take action TODAY!

Support expansion of IL Medicaid to cover all seniors age 60+

May 21, 2020

Dear friends,

*Este mensaje se repetirá en español a continuación*

Champaign County Health Care Consumers is joining with Healthy Illinois to call on IL Governor JB Pritzker to support HB 4891 / SB 3703 – Healthy Illinois for All.

This bill creates a pathway to health coverage through the Medicaid program for all low-income seniors in IL, including undocumented immigrants. This expansion of coverage is critical for keeping all communities healthy in the face of COVID-19. (For more information on HB 4891 / SB 3703, please see further down in this message, after the Take Action section.)

Please take action TODAY by calling the Governor’s Office, and/or signing on to support this legislation:

READ MORE!

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Need health insurance? Groceries? Prescriptions?

CCHCC can help!

What can CCHCC help with?
CCHCC’s Community Health Workers are experts at helping people with health insurance, SNAP (food stamps), Rx assistance, and more!

Have you lost your health insurance? CCHCC can help!
Many community members who have lost their jobs have also lost their employment-based health insurance. If you’ve lost your health insurance, CCHCC can help you apply for health insurance through the Medicaid program or through the ACA Marketplace. Our staff are federally-certified application counselors and they can help you figure out which type of health insurance you qualify for, and they can help you with the application process.

Have you lost income and can no longer afford groceries? CCHCC can help!
Illinois has expanded its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – also known as Food Stamps – and it has also increased the benefits of the program. Even if you’ve never used or qualified for SNAP before, if you are struggling to afford groceries, please contact CCHCC to see if you might qualify for SNAP benefits.

Do you need help affording your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and/or pharmacy-based medical supplies? CCHCC can help!
Times are tough and many people are not able to afford their prescriptions or other medications, or medical supplies like diabetic test strips, etc. If you need help with the costs  of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or certain medical supplies, please contact us for help.

If you need our services, please contact us!
Our physical office is closed, so we have a different system for how we are working with our clients and community.

Continue reading

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Resources for low-income individuals and families

LIHEAP, SNAP, and more!

May 6, 2020

We at Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) know that times are tough for many of our community members – especially those who have lost jobs and/or income during the coronavirus pandemic.

We want to let you know about some resources and benefits that are available, and that have been expanded to help meet the need of individuals and families during these difficult and uncertain times.

Please see below for information on how to get help with utility bills, how to get new or expanded SNAP (food stamps) benefits – especially for families with children – how to get health insurance if you’ve lost it or can no longer afford it, and how to get your Stimulus payment if you do not file federal taxes. You can help CCHCC by sharing this information with everyone in your network.

And, if you are able to do so, you can also donate to CCHCC to help us help our community.

Read on:

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CCHCC Annual Awards Dinner is CANCELED. Here’s what we’re doing instead, and how you can help.

April 28,2020

In the interest of everyone’s health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic, Champaign County Health Care Consumers has canceled our 2020 Annual Awards Dinner, which would have been held in May this year.

Although we cannot gather for our annual celebration, CCHCC staff are still working very hard every day to serve our community during the coronavirus pandemic. We have had an increase in the number of clients we are serving as a result of community members losing employment and income, and needing extra resources during the Shelter-in-Place order.

Medicaid, SNAP, Rx help, cash assistance and more!
Although we are working remotely, we are helping an increasing number of clients and community members to get the resources they and their families need during these challenging times. We have clients who have lost income and health insurance and who don’t know where to turn for other resources. We are here to help! We continue to help individuals and families gain coverage to health insurance, food stamps (SNAP), rental assistance, LIHEAP, prescriptions, and more. We have also successfully distributed cash assistance to numerous households as a result of CCHCC receiving a small grant from the United Way and Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund.

Even though we are canceling our Annual Awards Dinner, we still need your support! Here is how you can help us.
Our Annual Awards Dinner, and our Adbook program for the Dinner, are major annual fundraisers for CCHCC. Although we have had to cancel our Dinner, we are not in a financial position to be able to do without the income that our Dinner and Adbook provides every year. So, if you normally contribute to our Dinner or Adbook, please consider doing so this year anyway. Here are a couple of ways you can help support CCHCC.

DONATE NOW!

READ ON.

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IL Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, etc. depend on a good Census count?

April 15, 2020

Have you filled out your 2020 Census? If not, please do so ASAP. A lot is riding on an accurate 2020 Census Count!
The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community for the next decade. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding is distributed to local communities and federal programs. The results will show where communities need new schools, new hospitals and clinics, new supermarkets, new roads, and more resources for children, families, and older adults. And how federal funding will be allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP. The data collected by the decennial census also determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

You have ALREADY received 3-4 mailings inviting you to respond to the Census online and by phone.
The mailings you have received have a Census ID for your household. If you log on to the 2020 Census website, you will use this ID to complete your household’s Census. Likewise, if you prefer to do your Census by phone, you will call the number listed on your Census mailing, and provide your Census ID.

The website for completing your Census is: https://my2020census.gov/

The phone number to call to complete your Census is 1-844-468-2020

(If you’d like to know what questions are asked on the 2020 Census, please read on!)

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Coronavirus Stimulus Payments

What you need to know!

April 15, 2020

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) wants to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on important resources during this challenging time with the Corona Virus pandemic.

The focus of this message is everything we know about the Coronavirus Stimulus Payments that are part of the federal government’s CARES Act relief package. We include information about who is eligible for these payments and who is not eligible, and how to get the payments if you do not file income taxes or do not have a bank account where you can receive a direct deposit payment.

Scroll through the sections of this message to find the information you need.

If you are fortunate enough to not need your stimulus payment in order to financially survive the coronavirus pandemic, please consider making a contribution to CCHCC to support our work.

Read on.

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Lost jobs can mean lost health insurance coverage.

CCHCC is here to help you get covered!

During this novel corona virus pandemic, many Illinois residents have lost their jobs – and also their health care coverage.

If you, or someone you know has lost health insurance recently, please contact Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) for help.
Although our physical office is closed, CCHCC is still on the job, working with clients and community members remotely by phone and email.

Here is what you need to know:
People who have lost their workplace health insurance during the coronavirus outbreak might qualify for private health insurance coverage – and subsidies to help make the insurance affordable – through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplace.

In Illinois, thanks to our expanded Medicaid program under the ACA, many low-income and no-income Illinois residents will qualify for free (no monthly premiums or deductibles) health insurance coverage through the Medicaid program.

CCHCC’s certified Community Health Workers can help you figure out which insurance program you will qualify for, and can help you with the application process. We are here to help!
You can contact CCHCC by phone (please leave a voicemail message) at 217-352-6533, or by email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org.

Read more.

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Census 2020, by April 1! Something you can do while you “shelter in place” for corona virus

March 30, 2020

Dear Friends,

We at Champaign County Health Care Consumers hope that you are all staying safe and healthy, and that you are sheltering in place, if you are able to do so. If you have healthcare needs that we can help with, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we are still working, even though our office is closed to the public.

We are profoundly grateful to all of the front line workers – everyone from healthcare providers, store workers, sanitation workers, first responders, truckers, postal workers, etc. – who continue to serve our community and our nation during this novel corona virus pandemic, and we hope for their safety and good health. Please, if you can, stay home as much as necessary in order to protect yourselves and our fellow community members.

Now, let’s talk about the 2020 Census.
(Please get yours done by THIS Wednesday, April 1!)
Despite the changes to our daily lives during the corona virus pandemic, we MUST still complete the 2020 Census! In fact, it is as important as ever to complete the Census, because resources for local communities depend on an accurate Census count. Read through this message to learn surprising and important information about why a complete Census count is so important!

Read on!

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CCHCC is STILL here to help (at a social distance!) during COVID-19 “Shelter in Place”

March 24, 2020

Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is still available to help serve our community during these challenging times, as we work together to try to “flatten the curve” of the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19).

If you need our services, please contact us!

Our physical office is closed, so we have a different system for how we are working with our clients and community.

Here is how you can contact us, and what our process will be for working with you or anyone else who needs our help:

  1. We are closing our office, but we are continuing to work with clients. Our office will be functionally closed, but we will continue to help clients who contact us. We will do our best to work with clients over the phone and/or email, to avoid in-person appointments.
  2. If you need our services, please call or email us. You can call us at 217-352-6533, or send us an email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org, and we will respond as soon as we can, and we will work with you to find out what you need and whether we can work with your remotely. Please leave us a message, and please be patient – we will contact you as soon as we can. Because we are working remotely, our Staff have a little more work to do in order to communicate amongst ourselves and to coordinate our responses, but we will get back to everyone who contacts us!

Our regularly scheduled meetings are or will be canceled. Please stay tuned to our email and Facebook page for updates on cancelations of meetings and/or alternate plans for carrying out the work of our task forces and coalitions.

Now, we wanted to share some resources and articles with you, in case these can be helpful.

Read more.

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CCHCC’s response to Corona Virus (COVID-19), and our efforts to “flatten the curve”

In response to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation and the need to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve”, CCHCC is taking certain measures that we wanted to inform you about.

We are closing our office, but we are continuing to work with clients. Our office will be functionally closed, but we will continue to help clients who contact us. We will do our best to work with clients over the phone and/or email, to avoid in-person appointments. However, if someone has to have an in-person appointment, we will accommodate them, while taking protective measures.

If you need our services, please call or email us. You can call us at 217-352-6533, or send us an email at cchcc@cchcc-il.org, and we will respond as soon as we can, and we will work with you to find out what you need and whether we can work with your remotely, or if you will require an in-person appointment.

Read more.

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CCHCC has Medicare Open Enrollment resources!

The Medicare Open Enrollment period for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans has begun! Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15 through December 7, 2019 for 2020 coverage.

Do you, or someone you know, need help with Medicare Open Enrollment, signing up for Medicare, or getting financial assistance to make Medicare affordable?

Many people find Medicare confusing. Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) is here to help! Check out our resources below, and/or contact us to schedule an appointment to get help (our services are free): call 217-352-6533 and ask to schedule an appointment, or email us at cchcc@cchcc-il.org.

Continue for resource links and more.

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New Fact Chat video on State’s Medicaid problems

July 3, 2019

We recently updated you on the problems that are plaguing the IL Medicaid system, and SNAP (food stamps) program, thanks to a glitchy program that Illinois purchased from Deloitte, and also thanks to understaffing of caseworkers in the IL Department of Human Services.

Please check out our newest Fact Chat video, in which CCHCC’s Client Services Coordinator, Adani Sanchez, and our Executive Director, Claudia Lennhoff, discuss this problem and its impact on consumers and our organization.

For more information on this issue, you can visit CCHCC’s webpage on the Medicaid backlog.

Coming soon!
As we continue to work on this issue, we will keep you updated. Our co-worker, Ashley Buckley, has been doing deep research into this issue and how this situation came about, and what other states have experienced (hint: Illinois is not alone in its problems with Deloitte’s system). We will post that research soon. We’ll let you know when it is available.

Sincerely,

Claudia Lennhoff
Executive Director
Champaign County Health Care Consumers

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Take action TODAY for legislation to lower prescription drug prices!

llinois patients and seniors need your help to lower prescription drugs. Drug companies are making huge profits by hiking up the prices on prescription drug

A recent poll showed that in Illinois, 27% of families said they had skipped filling a prescription in the last year because of the high costs of prescriptions.

In Illinois, we have an unprecedented opportunity to pass legislation that would create greater oversight and transparency on drugs, and that would help reduce the cost of drugs.
 
That is why CCHCC is joining the fight for affordable prescription drugs.

Take action and read more.