Foster Grandparents Program (FGP) participants beat the summer heat earlier this month as Carl Simonie, with the Bukaty Companies, was joined by Eddy Scanlon, with Humana, to hand out ice cream. This wasn’t the first time, however, that Bukaty Companies stepped up to serve this group.
Since 2018, Bukaty Companies has partnered with FGP to help ensure participants are getting a better understanding of health care benefits, and receiving care at an affordable cost.
“Seniors in the urban core are often provided with an insufficient explanation of benefits,” said Shelia Freeman, FGP coordinator. “Too often, they receive the information in the mail from Medicare/Medicaid to sign up and many sign up without understanding all the hidden benefits and coverages that are available to them.”
The FGP staff started hearing stories from Foster Grandparents who were unable to meet copays or purchase prescribed medications at affordable rates, dental coverage or life alert buttons. “Two of the biggest concerns we have heard about is the deduction of monthly insurance premiums from Social Security checks, as well as out-of-pocket medication expenses,” added Sheila. “Other common problems that arise are trying to decide between purchasing medication or buying food or paying a bill.”
Bukaty Companies’ Carl Simonie approached the FGP staff back in March 2018 about becoming an advocate/broker for our Foster Grandparents, all at no charge. Bukaty Companies does not subscribe to any specific insurance company. Instead, they identify the best fit for each individual’s healthcare plan.
As of August 2019, Carl has met two to three times a week with approximately 40 – 50 Foster Grandparents to address any health insurance issues or concerns. Many have experienced a reduction in their monthly deductions from their Social Security checks.
One of the Foster Grandparents, for example, was able to switch her plan to one that required a lower co-pay. As a result, she was able to schedule a CAT scan which identified cancer in her kidney. The grandparent said if it were not for the help she got from Bukaty Companies, the cancer may have greatly advanced before being discovered.
Moving forward, the FGP staff and Bukaty Companies are hoping to increase awareness among other Foster Grandparent participants about this important free service. This information is beneficial for both first-time Medicare/Medicaid applicants and those renewing their plans in October.