Stacy Villagran is the director of the Facilitated Enrollment program at the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, a participating agency in Community Health Advocates (CHA). In May 2011, she heard that a school district in Long Island was going to lay off 54 staff members due to severe budget cuts.
Hearing this, Stacy decided to take action. She reached out to the soon-to-be laid-off staff members and provided them with information on other options for health insurance besides the COBRA coverage offered by the school district.
Cosmo is a janitor in the school district who was among those being laid off. He and his wife both require medications that cost them around $1,000 per month. This worried him greatly as a previous job loss had forced Cosmo to exhaust his savings and start dipping into his retirement account in order to pay his COBRA premiums—a scenario he did not want to have to relive.
“I am going through the same thing again, two years later at 53. Where am I going to find a job at this age? If I lose my house, then I am going to have to use up all my money for rent, and then after that, I am done. I am finished.”
Stacy helped Cosmo enroll his two youngest children into Child Health Plus, and he and his wife are now weighing their options between Healthy NY and the NY Bridge Plan. Working with CHA, Cosmo is relieved that he now has someone to turn to.
“They have been wonderful, helpful. They gave me all the information and paper work I needed…it is good to know that they are there.”