2000: Launch of Insurance Counseling
Determined to help older adults and their families navigate the confusing maze of health insurance and prescription programs, SourcePoint launched an insurance counseling program in 2000. Trained insurance specialists began to offer free counseling to Delaware County residents, providing customized, one-on-one guidance on various insurance and prescription options, as well as help understanding confusing medical bills. The program continues to thrive today with two full-time insurance specialists on staff—as well as a group of professionally-trained volunteers—providing New to Medicare classes, plan comparison workshops, one-on-one consultations, and more. The success stories are significant, with one client saving more than $6,000 in 2016 over the previous year by completing a Medicare plan comparison at one of SourcePoint’s popular workshops.
One of the benefits of being an organization that fields hundreds of requests for assistance each month is that, over time, we are able to better understand the needs of our local older population. Over the years, whenever we have consistently received requests for assistance that is not readily available, we focused our attention on addressing that need. And that is how we came to develop our insurance counseling program.
Our first insurance counselor was Dorothy Shoemaker, a dear, sweet lady whom everyone loved. For all of Dorothy’s sweetness, she was also a real tiger who would relentlessly pursue justice whenever she saw that someone was taking advantage of one of her clients. I recall one instance when Dorothy wound up on the evening news because of her heroics. A Columbus hospital had made a coding error resulting in gross overcharging and the desperate former patient eventually appeared at our door. The scared and confused woman was facing bills for tens of thousands of dollars – money she didn’t have. It took months of relentless advocacy with an insurance company, the hospital, and doctors, but in the end the error was recognized and corrected. After the story aired on television, the CEO of the hospital gave Dorothy his personal phone number with the instructions that she should call him if anything like that ever happened again.
As our insurance counseling efforts have grown and matured, we are blessed to now have two wonderful people who work full-time, bringing the same commitment and passion assisting, educating, and advocating for older adults in Delaware County. Last year Paula Dean and Charlotte Pritt saved those whom they assisted a whopping $580,000 in fees. We now provide a variety of classes and workshops as well as one-on-one counseling for nearly 1,000 people each year.
To top things off, just last month Paula was recognized by the Ohio Department of Insurance as the Ohio Insurance Counselor of the Year. She and Charlotte both represent the spirit of SourcePoint; when we recognize a problem, we roll up our sleeves and work hard to solve it.