Independent Consumer Advocacy Network

Woman using a wheelchair.
ICAN is the New York State Ombudsprogram for people with Medicaid who need long term care services. CIDNY is part of the ICAN network and the exclusive agency for FIDA-IDD. We help New Yorkers with enrolling in and using Medicaid managed care plans that cover long-term care services such as home attendant services or nursing home care.
We can help you by answering questions about long-term care and giving you information about your health insurance options like the FIDA program or FIDA-IDD program (for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities).
We can also work with you to help you decide what plan is right for you. If you already have a plan, we can help you solve problems with your managed care plans or providers and use negotiation or formal appeal processes.

New York State’s Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN) program helps New Yorkers with disabilities with their health insurance and long-term care problems. Long-term care includes care in a nursing home or in your own home with help from an aide. Personal care aides can help with activities like getting dressed, walking, and going to the bathroom.

Two women, an older woman and a nurse, smiling and discussing a medication.

In 2015, New York State created both the Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN) and the new Fully Integrated Dual Advantage (FIDA) insurance plans. FIDA was intended to make it easier for people with both Medicaid and Medicare to get health care.

When people with Medicaid become eligible for Medicare, they usually have to change their Medicaid plan. Then they have to figure out how to use their separate Medicaid and Medicare insurance on their own to get health care. These “dual-eligibles” generally need more care than most people with only Medicaid. The State hoped that setting them up with a single plan that combines their Medicaid and Medicare would make it easier for them to get services. Many people were confused by the changes.

Luckily, ICAN was created to help people navigate the new long-term care system at the same time as the new FIDA program. ICAN helps people who need long-term care services with any kind of Medicaid-managed care: FIDA, FIDA-IDD, MLTC, MMC, PACE, MAP, and HARP. ICAN’s services include answering people’s questions, giving advice, advocating with plans or agencies, and representing people in formal appeals.

If your managed care plan denies coverage for services you need, ICAN can help you fight to keep your services.


ICAN is a group of advocates and lawyers from different organizations across New York State, including CIDNY. ICAN’s staff at CIDNY are experts in the long-term care system and handle a wide range of cases from all five boroughs of New York City. Our staff provides services ranging from simple advice to representing people at appeals, free of charge.

in red font, Here are some real examples of how CIDNY’s ICAN advocates have helped consumers: on the left is a purple box with white font in front of an image of a black house with a heart. Fran* fell and hurt herself and had to go to the hospital. After she recovered, her family wanted to bring her home, but her insurance plan refused. They said she needed more help than they were providing, but did not want to pay for more. With ICAN’s help, she was able to get the plan to pay for 24-hour help, which let her live at home. On the right in a red box in white font in front of a wheelchair, Carolyn* was stuck on the second floor of her family home and couldn’t get out on her own. The insurance company had promised to send people to carry her wheelchair down the stairs whenever she needed to go out, but they never actually did. ICAN helped her get a stairlift so that she could go out whenever she wanted. At the bottom in red font, (*Names changed for confidentiality.)
CIDNY’s ICAN staff understand how difficult it can be for New Yorkers with disabilities to get the help they need. If you are confused about the long-term care system or notice you received, you can call ICAN’s toll-free telephone helpline at (844) 614-8800. ICAN’s staff will answer your questions and will try to help you solve your problems. See how ICAN has helped other New Yorkers with disabilities on ICAN’s website.