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2008 Recipient - Erie County Senior Services' Resource Center
The "Up and Coming Program Award" recognizes a local group or organization that has accomplished much within the community by their pursuit, courage, enthusiasm and zeal professionally and/or voluntarily for elders in Western New York.
The Erie County Senior Services' Insurance Resource Center was established in 2005, and consists of 2 very dedicated staff-William Daniels and Nancy Schneider. Its purpose is to help seniors and their families sort through the many mysteries of insurance-what situations policies cover or exclude, what they cost, and what advantages/disadvantages various types of coverage offer. The information is complex, fluid, and crucial to consumers. Through the years of the center's existence, staff has held hundreds of community meetings to get information on Medicare, Medicare Part D, and long term care insurance out to the people who need to make decisions on what policy is best for them. One-on-one counseling and troubleshooting have saved the day for many residents of Erie County-help in obtaining coverage for desperately needed medications, advocating with health care providers, and doggedly seeking assistance for people in dire need. In recent years, the Center has also assisted people in sorting through long term care insurance choices as well; helping them to save money and provide for their care should they need it in the future.
Insurance is expensive and vital to people's lives-whether it is coverage for medication, hospitalization, preventive care, or doctor's visits. Understanding and comparing policies is often beyond what an individual can do.
The Insurance Resource Center does this key work at two levels-in providing unbiased information to help people understand policies and purchase the one most suited to their health needs and income. On a deeper level, the staff work with those whose insurance coverage may be failing them-perhaps refusing to cover a drug for cancer or requiring co-pays that are just not affordable to an individual consumer. Whatever the case, the staff probe and push and investigate to find the best solution for people. As one grateful client wrote, "After many months of frustrations with CMS, Bill Daniels rectified my problem in less than 8 days. He's my hero."
Another client wrote: "…within 10 minutes Mr. Daniels gave me more information than I received in 5 hours of previous phone calls to the insurance companies." And someone wrote of Nancy Schneider: …"since 2002 I have called and talked to several different people associated with the system (Medicare). In all that time, I have never spoken to an associate that has been so helpful and informative as Nancy Schneider."
Bill and Nancy offer people the chance to live their lives with greater feelings of security. This helps the Department of Senior Services fulfill its mission of supporting the elderly in their desire to remain in their homes, in the community.