Testimonials from Members and Endorsement by Officials

Growing Well Together!

The Ithaca Health Alliance has been applauded by its members, in addition to being endorsed by the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce president, the Chairman of the Tompkins County Legislature, the Tompkins County Health Department, the Tompkins County Health Planning Council, the president of the Cayuga Medical Center, State Senator Jim Seward, State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, Mayor Carolyn Peterson. It operates with the approval of the NYS Attorney General.

MARY says, "I'm so glad for the Alliance! While landscaping, I had a pair of hand pruners in one hand and grabbed a bunch of weeds in the other. Went to snip the weeds but got my finger instead. I was starting to panic at Convenient Care, worrying about the money. I remembered the Alliance and that we covered stitches. Yay for grassroots power and coming together!"

RUTH fell down stairs and broke her wrist, right after a divorce and car accident. "I spend the rest of the night with ice packs on my arm, weeping. I was in such pain but wouldn't dare go to the hospital because I couldn't afford to. I cried and prayed-- and then I remembered I had joined the Health Alliance." She says that when she showed her Health Alliance card at Cayuga Medical Center, "I was so happy. It really was one of the nicest things that's happened to me in a long, long time. I always liked the idea of it-- but the reality of it is even better."

AUDREY snagged her hand on a 400-degree heating element in her son's electric stove, in Rhode Island. "This is the first time I've been seriously burned since I was sixteen. I didn't want to go to the Emergency Room, especially since Mutual of Omaha dropped my policy a month earlier. But it was a miracle to me to find that the Health Alliance pays for second and third degree burns. And that you paid the full amount promptly and immediately for out-of-state care, with no deductible! I highly recommend that everybody join."

JOHN's son DAVID got emergency stitches that were fully paid for by the Alliance. "During the past seven years I've paid $28,000 into insurance with a $2,000 deductible and we never collected a cent. Now we pay $50 a year to the Alliance for my son, and for any normal disaster he's pretty much covered. The Alliance is not only a great idea with a great potential-- like building health clinics-- besides that, it works."

John and his wife have enrolled some of their employees in the Alliance. When an employee leaves the job, their membership transfers to the next employee.

BRAD received a $1,829 Alliance payment: "I am self-employed, and last year I bought into the Health Alliance to supplement a catastrophic injury plan that has a very high deductible. Last month I broke my collarbone. The bills would have been a real hardship for me, but the Health Alliance stepped in immediately with no red tape. It was a lifesaver. I'll belong to the Health Alliance forever and do my part for the cause."
SPYKE works at a local café which enrolled her in the Alliance. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance during an asthma attack. The Alliance paid for the ride: "The Alliance's payment was quick and painless. And very helpful financially. I had no idea an ambulance cost so much! It would have been very difficult otherwise-- the U.S. health care system is unaffordable."

SANDRA says, "I joined the Health Alliance as soon as I came to Ithaca and heard about it. The Alliance is an incredible gift that we can give each other. The whole medical system is such a downer-- people's freedom of choice is taken away, the HMOs are squeezing people, leaving no breathing room. I dropped my health insurance years ago-- I couldn't afford it anyway."

She received quick payment for emergency stitches. "The Alliance opens the door to freedom. It pays anywhere with any health provider. When I had stitches at Cayuga Medical Center, Medicare covered part of it and the Alliance paid the rest. I paid nothing.

"I'd like to see everybody join the Alliance, even if they already have health insurance, so we can replace the other system with this new system of people supporting each other."

JIM says, "The [Governor] Pataki plan will almost certainly leave the underinsured, like my partner and I, out in the cold... we are always forgotten because we have high deductible insurance. I've been glad of the Health Alliance in that I've now received several good discounts from Cayuga Medical Center, plus payment toward my bills. My partner receives discounts on an ongoing basis, some for physical therapy which our insurance will not cover because it is within a year of surgery or the accident that started it."

CHERYL slipped on snow-covered plastic sheeting and split her ear on a wheelbarrow. Stitches were required. "Just that week I had resolved to start saving money to buy land, so this expense was depressing. When I realized I could call on the Health Alliance it sure reduced my pain-- this is the way to go with health insurance!"

DAVE says that "insurance companies are really exorbitant and don't cover much our family is interested in. So we're investing in the future by joining the Health Alliance, for a future in which we're not depending on those big greedy corporations. I'd like health insurance to be not profit-motivated. Based on meeting people's needs rather than only figuring how much money you can extract from them.

"As a cabdriver, I take Medicaid patients to appointments. We've taken clients all the way to Groton and Auburn for simple dental work that could have been taken care of here. There are no Child Health Plus dentists here either. It's not right."

He has gotten a Health Alliance discount at Cayuga Medical Center that totaled several hundred dollars.

ALETA had tried many times to quit smoking on her own, but felt hooked. She visited Health Alliance herbalist John Milich, who offered his experience, suggestions and some special tincture which mimics nicotine while cleansing the liver. "Now I can't believe I ever smoked," Aleta says. "It was so much a part of my personality."

The Health Alliance paid her $50.00 for successfully completing a smoking quit effort, several months before she became pregnant. "The Health Alliance provides security and a feeling of support. It gives you a broader range for exploring different ways to heal. And the bigger it gets, the more stuff it covers. I think it's great!"

She says she had standard health insurance just once, but that it had nothing for her. "Even on Medicaid now, it's hard to find a dentist who takes it. I had to go to Auburn." So she's pleased to own her own health plan, and looks forward to the nonprofit dental clinic.

JOE expects that the Health Alliance will be our Green Cross of the future. This is how the Canadian and British health systems started-- several towns created their own health plans and it pressured the national government. When everyone can see we run an efficient health system, then the scare tactics of the insurance industry won't work. People will say 'they dropped out of the system and they're doing well.'

Right now, getting sick without money is a crime in this country. Canada doesn't have people dying in the streets, or shifting ambulances away from hospitals to avoid paying services for the poor."

NANCY has gotten discounts and a free chiropractic treatment through the Alliance: "The Health Alliance has allowed me to put an end to humiliating inquiries from insurance companies. It's unethical for an insurance company to decide whether or not somebody needs treatment. Now I'm freed from that.
"I tend to think locally for solutions. I was a UFW [United FarmWorkers] organizer years ago, and we had our own clinics, so the idea of a clinic makes sense to me.
"I think that catastrophic coverage ought to be available from insurance companies, with a high deductible. What most people are concerned about is being wiped out. We can cover our own daily and preventive needs with this Alliance."

"My son DEREK was injured on 5/11/01 and was seen in the emergency room at Cayuga Medical Center. He received emergency stitches on his forehead. Derek is an Ithaca Health Alliance member (#0348). We have catastrophic medical insurance with Mutual of Omaha with a $5,000 deductible and none of the charges related to Derek's injuries will be covered since we have (fortunately) not met our deductible this year. Please find enclosed the bills that we received from Dr Monacelli and Cayuga Medical Center. Please pay the bill from Dr. Monacelli ($320) in full and pay remaining $80 to Cayuga Medical Center. Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for making this experience less traumatic financially for us!!!!"

PRISCILLA is billing agent for Ithaca Orthopaedic. "The Health Alliance paid faster than any insurance company I've ever dealt with. They put insurance companies to shame."