Tribune Print Share Text

Filling the gap

DuPont retirees find health care coverage through Erickson Advantage®

Created date

April 11th, 2017
Residents and DuPont Retirees Club members Ken Wright (left) and John Smoots pose with Sara Price, Maris Grove’s Erickson Advantage membership coordinator. The men say that Price’s office does an excellent job.

Residents and DuPont Retirees Club members Ken Wright (left) and John Smoots pose with Sara Price, Maris Grove’s Erickson Advantage membership coordinator. The men say that Price’s office does an excellent job.

People move to Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., from locations both near and far. A number of those who move from Wilmington, Del., are DuPont retirees. Maris Grove’s DuPont Retirees Club, chaired by John Smoots, himself a Wilmington transplant, has 165 members. 

Like their neighbors, the DuPont retirees value Maris Grove’s many on-site amenities, especially its on-site medical center, staff physicians, and rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood. 

Health coverage solution

At Maris Grove, a doctor’s appointment or a blood draw is as close as a walk down the hall. 

Another important component of Erickson Living’s emphasis on health and wellness is Erickson Advantage, a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. It’s available only to people who live at Erickson Living retirement communities. 

In 2013, after ending its company-administered health care coverage, DuPont pledged a $1,400 annual stipend to each retiree and spouse who signed up for a plan on its new administrator’s list, including Erickson Advantage.

Some 64% of DuPont Retirees Club members use Erickson Advantage. 

Of course, coverage and costs play important roles in their decision, but so does the presence of an Erickson Advantage staff member right on campus.

For ten years, Erickson Advantage Member Services Representative Sara Price has fielded questions, calmed concerns, and solved problems for members. 

Her caseload totals 650 residents. To continue delivering the same high level of efficiency and effectiveness to so many members, she now has an assistant, former Maris Grove Social Worker Nadine Steward.

Residents know they’ll receive a straight answer from Price’s staff. “They’ll compare your current health care policy with a similar Erickson Advantage policy, and if your policy is better, they’ll tell you to keep it,” says John.

Long-distance problem solving

When John and his wife, Peg, take their snowbird trips to Sarasota, Fla., Erickson Advantage travels with them, and Price is just a phone call away.

During one of those trips, after x-rays showed that Peg had broken her ankle, the Smoots called several orthopedists, but none would accept Erickson Advantage.

So John contacted Price, who made phone calls until she reached the proper person to verify coverage. A few years later came a second break for Peg, but things went smoothly that time around.

“Sara [Price] and her organization are real gems,” says John. “If you have a problem, they do their best to straighten things out.”

That’s been fellow DuPont retiree Ken Wright’s experience, too. When his Maris Grove primary care physician recommended he get a review of his COPD, he called Temple Lung Center, part of Temple University Hospitals in Philadelphia.

“They didn’t know about Erickson Advantage,” Ken says. So he asked Price to call them, and she resolved the situation. He was covered, and that was that.

“Our directory covers Maris Grove and Ann’s Choice [an Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa.], so we have a broad area of coverage,” says Price. “We are lucky to be in an area with great hospitals and doctors.”

Medical excellence

Price includes Maris Grove’s medical professionals in that assessment. Nurse Practitioner Teresa McDonald, for example, has earned a reputation for tenacity in getting to the root cause of a patient’s symptoms.

After Ken had largely recovered from pneumonia early this year, he developed a cough that didn’t sound right to McDonald. She doggedly investigated until she determined the cause was acid reflux. 

“She was terrific!” Ken says. “She kept after it, and she got me to change my eating habits.” 

Ken used to only visit a doctor when he was sick; at Maris Grove he sees his doctor every four months. “They pay much closer attention,” he says, “and they spend a lot of time on wellness.”

Ken now does 90 minutes of exercise three times a week at the campus fitness center. “I’m very satisfied with my care here,” he says.