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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.