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Teamwork for better health care options

Maris Grove, Erickson Living partner to provide health insurance for DuPont retirees

Created date

May 21st, 2013

Residents at Erickson Living communities like Maris Grove, in Delaware County, Pa., know that staff always put them first and work tirelessly to meet their needs. That s the Erickson Way. It underpins the attitude of all Erickson Living employees and was responsible for forging a health care insurance decision that benefitted DuPont retirees at all of Erickson Living s 16 communities. DuPont s announcement last year that it would end its company-administered health care coverage by Dec. 31, 2012, put many of Maris Grove s 250 DuPont retirees into a tailspin. The decision especially troubled those who had been on DuPont s plan for 40-plus years and had never given health insurance a second thought. DuPont named Extend Health as its new retiree health insurance administrator and pledged a $1,400 annual stipend to each retiree and spouse who signed up for a plan on Extend Health s list. There was one glitch: Erickson Advantage wasn t on the list. That s when Erickson Advantage staff members at Maris Grove and Erickson Living headquarters teamed up to change things. Erickson Advantage, insured through United Healthcare Insurance Company and its affiliated companies, is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. It s available only to people who live at Erickson Living communities.

Residents get involved

To assist the effort, John Smoots, who with Ed Lorenz and Pete Meyers co-chairs Maris Grove s DuPont retirees group, contacted DuPont s vice president of personnel to extol Maris Grove s full-service campus medical center; its staff of full-time geriatricians, internists, and other medical professionals; and its on-site Erickson Advantage staff. And he kept communications open between Maris Grove and DuPont. When John s contact volunteered to help, Maris Grove staff contacted Pam Young, the Erickson Advantage member services director in Baltimore. She contacted United Healthcare, who started negotiations with Extend Health. Rick Gordon, Maris Grove s Erickson Advantage health insurance resource manager, attended Extend Health s presentations at DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, Del. Then he and Sara Price, the community s Erickson Advantage member services representative, held meetings with the retirees to keep them accurately informed. We were especially concerned about people who didn t have spouses or family members available as a resource, Gordon says. That s what we re here for.


By Medicare s open enrollment period, Erickson Advantage was on Extend Health s list, which guaranteed DuPont retirees an excellent health care option and the $1,400 stipend. Young spent that three-month period at Maris Grove logging 12-hour days to help retirees select the best plan for them. Ultimately, 107 chose Erickson Advantage. The Erickson Advantage staff went above and beyond the call of duty, says Ed. But we couldn t have done this without a team effort, says Young. One resident after another told me how wonderful the staff is at Maris Grove. Price is a case in point. Price now serves 660 Erickson Advantage members. My daily goal is to make a difference for someone, she says. And every day when I go home, I feel I ve done that. John agrees. It s terrific to turn over any problem to Sara and let her deal with it. Which is, after all, the Erickson Way.