CHA Celebrates 20 Years of Medicare Education & Advocacy for Californians, 1997 – 2017



For more information, contact:  Tatiana Fassieux, Board Chair, 530-898-6717



Sacramento, CA — This month, California Health Advocates celebrates 20 years of Medicare policy, advocacy and education, 1997 – 2017. As the premier watchdog on Medicare and long-term care insurance (LTCI) issues in the state, CHA works to support an empowered and informed population of Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, family members and professionals. CHA provides training, technical assistance, and accessible, easy-to-understand information on these issues.


“I congratulate California Health Advocates for its significant positive impact on the lives of California Medicare beneficiaries over the last 20 years,” said Tatiana Fassieux, Board Chair of California Health Advocates. “CHA is recognized as a strong advocate and partner for Medicare beneficiaries on the national scene, and our committed staff ensure that California’s voice is heard in Sacramento and Washington D.C. I am proud to be the Board Chair of such a dedicated organization!”


CHA’s 20 years of advocacy and policy work has also played a big role in the many Medigap and long-term care insurance bills passed creating strong consumer protections for people who buy those products in California. “Some examples,” shared Bonnie Burns, our Training and Policy Specialist who has been the lead voice for consumers on these issues, “are the production of a long-term care insurance and Medigap rate guides, requirement of insurance agents to receive at least eight hours of training before selling LTCI, requirement of insurance companies to allow Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 to buy a Medigap policy and allow all Medicare beneficiaries more generous rights to buy a Medigap policy following the loss of other coverage.”


In addition, California Health Advocates works closely with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), called Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) in California. SHIP is the only program that provides free, unbiased, one-on-one Medicare coverage and benefits counseling to older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. And over the past decade, the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving personal assistance has almost tripled. CHA supports California’s SHIP (HICAP) through conducting training, providing technical assistance and educational materials to staff and volunteer counselors, and being their primary voice advocating for their maintained and continued funding.


California Health Advocates is also home to California’s Senior Medicare Patrol, a program with close to 700 volunteers statewide that educates beneficiaries, providers, family members and caregivers about Medicare fraud, fraud prevention, detection and where to report it. “Our staff and volunteers make a dynamite team,” said Micki Nozaki, California SMP Project Director. “We work closely with government agencies, law enforcement, social workers and providers, and in fiscal year 2016, our California SMP educated almost 200,000 beneficiaries and their family members and saved California beneficiaries $200,000 in direct savings and cost avoidance.”


Julie Schoen, former SMP Director and current Deputy Director at National Center on Elder Abuse sums up CHA’s impact nicely saying, “California Health Advocates to me is that example of Margaret Mead’s quote, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ California Health Advocates truly has changed the lives of so many people with the dedication and passion of a few.”


Join us in celebrating 20 years of service! Your generous donations help ensure our ongoing work in these uncertain times. Thank you for your support. We greatly appreciate your gifts!

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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.

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.