Author Archives: Admin

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 ( 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.


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.


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.”  


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:
    ◦    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 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.


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: