2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Alex Berke

Alex Berke

Name of Host Organization: Community Service Society
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Health Care
Sponsors: Pfizer Inc.; Kaye Scholer LLP

The Project

Alex utilized legal advocacy to ensure continuity of care for low-income, chronic illness-affected New Yorkers transitioning between Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act-created Marketplace and other health insurance programs

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
More than 2.1 million New Yorkers have enrolled in health insurance through the New York State of Health Marketplace. An estimated 50,000 individuals in New York transition between Medicaid and private insurance annually. Approximately 30% of these New Yorkers are likely to be dealing with a chronic condition. Navigating the complex system of insurance eligibility is not something most New Yorkers can do easily. Advocacy is needed to ensure that clients are placed in the most affordable insurance plan they are entitled to and that the plan they enroll in covers their ongoing access to critical medical services.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Alex has:
• Represented or provided advice to more than 526 New Yorkers regarding how to get, keep, and use their health insurance
• Trained more than 565 advocates across New York State on how to help clients maintain care and insurance coverage while transitioning between public health insurance programs.
• Shaped policy within the New York State of Health Marketplace through active participation in the Health Care for All New York Public Programs Group.
• Saved clients over $100,000 in health care costs.
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Alex plans to:
• Continue helping New Yorkers access needed health care by building a private consumer advocacy practice within an established New York law firm.

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