Bonnie Burns Honored as a Hero in Money Magazine’s October Edition

Sacramento, CA —This month’s Money Magazine features Bonnie Burns of California Health Advocates as a hero of many. Recognized for her decades of work as a policy specialist, she is one of 40 people being honored this year for their extraordinary contribution and efforts to improve other people’s financial wellbeing.

Bonnie Burns

“Burns’ contributions are too numerous to list,” said Elaine Wong Eakin, Executive Director for California Health Advocates. “The Medicare supplement insurance market in the 1980s was unregulated and consumers had nowhere to turn for help. If it weren’t for Burns, there would be no standardized policies today. We also thank Burns for adding consumer protections to long term care insurance,” continued Eakin. Burns played a major role in developing a Medicare benefits counseling program for beneficiaries in the late 1970’s which was later established by California legislation as the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). HICAP served as a model for the nationwide State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

“I am deeply honored to know Bonnie Burns and grateful to be her colleague for so many years,” said Julie Schoen, Senior Medicare Patrol Project Director with California Health Advocates. “She has contributed both to the financial and emotional wellbeing of millions of beneficiaries who now have access to consistent, understandable coverage options and health care rights.” Serving for two decades as a consumer representative with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Burns also informs state and federal legislative efforts affecting Medicare supplemental and LTC insurance products. She’s currently educating policymakers on how proposed changes to Medicare as a means of cutting spending would force beneficiaries to pay more for their care. “Burns is a true hero and role model for many of us, and we are delighted to see her honored in this way,” stated Eakin.

For more information, see “Watchdog for Senior Health Care: Bonnie Burns, Policy Specialist, California Health Advocates,” p. 63 of Money Magazine’s October 2012 edition. Also, read Burns biography:

California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides quality Medicare and related health care coverage information, education and policy advocacy. CHA equips community organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information, especially the 24 local HICAPs, which provide benefits counseling and community education directly to those with Medicare and their families. For more information, visit its website at

For more information contact:

Elaine Wong Eakin
Executive Director

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.