[Podcast] Medicare: Planning for Medicare with a personal assistant - Medicare Simplified

In this episode of Medicare Simplified, Align powered by Sanford Health Plan’s health navigators help members find benefits that fit.




Mick Garry (host): Welcome to “Medicare Simplified,” a podcast by Sanford Health Plan. I'm your host, Mick Garry.

What if you had a Medicare plan that came with a personal assistant? Sifting through all those Medicare options can seem daunting, but what if you had some help? When it comes to Align powered by Sanford Health Plan, members can rely on personal assistants, or health navigators, to connect them to their care and wellness options. They need to learn what's so special about these navigators and what they can do for you.

We're joined today by Randi Frodermann and Courtney Sargent. Randi, you get the first question. Can you explain to our listeners what health navigators do?

Randi Frodermann (guest): So a health navigator is pretty much a personal assistant to our members. It's a white-glove service that these members get with their plan so they have someone to really help guide and navigate them through the plan and the health care system. We assist with a lot of things but mostly focus on answering questions on their supplemental benefits. We help find providers for the members as well as ordering over-the-counter medications with their OTC benefit. We also reach out to each member for a welcome call to get them acquainted with the plan.

An example of a way a health navigator would assist a member would be like the other day, when we had a member reach out saying that they needed to get a ride to an appointment and they didn't have a family member to help them out. So Courtney and I assisted them with getting a ride to their appointment by reaching out to social workers who assisted in setting up the service that provides the ride. We reached out to them to make sure that they were able to get to their appointment, that they didn't have any issues with their transportation.

Mick Garry (host): Can you offer an example of a navigator helping with the over-the-counter benefit?

Courtney Sargent (guest): Yes. So we actually have a lot of members that call in. They have a catalog at home where they pick out everything that they want and then whenever they call us, they just let us know what it is. We log into a profile on their behalf and then we can place the order for them, confirm everything, and then it gets shipped out straight to their address. I feel like a lot of members really enjoy knowing that they can call the health navigator line to get that service taken care of for them.

Mick Garry (host): Courtney, does engaging with an expert make a difference?

Courtney Sargent (guest): Yes. We found that engaging with health navigators give the member confidence that their questions and concerns will be addressed and that they will have a point of contact who will be able to navigate and guide them through this plan.

Mick Garry (host): What are some of the main topics plan members are asking health navigators these days?

Randi Frodermann (guest): Since it's the beginning of the year, we're commonly getting a lot of questions on helping these members find in-network providers for their medical, dental, and vision needs. Every day we receive various questions regarding their supplemental benefits.

Mick Garry (host): As a health navigator, it sounds like you have a small local group of helpers. Can you tell me about your team and why location matters?

Randi Frodermann (guest): Right now there are only two of us, but Courtney and I are dedicated to assisting our members. Being local gives us the opportunities to go out and meet members at events such as our town halls that we attended this past fall. We believe it is easier to build lasting relationships when you can put a name to a face.

Mick Garry (host): What advice would you give people who are diving into their Medicare options right now?

Courtney Sargent (guest): It's always a great idea to look into your options when shopping for a plan that will best fit your needs, and making sure to see if the other plans have personal assistants like us to help you take advantage of all of the benefits you get with your coverage.

Mick Garry (host): Randi and Courtney, thank you so much for helping us learn about health navigators and what they do for plan members. If you'd like to chat with a navigator or learn more about Medicare Advantage plan options from Sanford Health Plan, visit align.sanfordhealthplan.com or find more information in our episode show notes.


Align powered by Sanford Health Plan is a PPO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Align powered by Sanford Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Sanford Health Plan complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, or any other classification protected under the law. This information is not a complete list of benefits. Call (888) 605-9277 ( TTY: 711) for more information.

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