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Harvey suggests adding consultant for insurance issues
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Senior citizens are the most common victims of fraudulent phone calls and scams.

Debbie Harvey of NHC presented an issue to the Warren County Health and Welfare Committee asking for solutions to the problem of older patients with home nurses or in a nursing home changing their insurance plans over the phone.

Elderly people are usually targeted for scams or robo-calls because they have less awareness of the dangers of newer technology. Harvey is a physical therapist with NHC Home Care and she expressed concern to the committee that old people can lose their nurses, their room in a nursing home, or even proper medications from a misleading phone call.

“Since I do home health, the majority or 95% of my patients are elderly,” Harvey said. 

With different insurance comes different managed care plans, which are different options available. 

“Most of my patients have no idea, or they don’t understand at all about how it works,” said Harvey.

She said a big problem is after a couple of weeks of her visiting patients, one will be removed from her schedule because their insurance cut them off from home care. This leaves many senior patients vulnerable and without the proper care they need.

“If they would have had straight Medicare, then get Part B, that wouldn’t happen,” Harvey said. She explained that Medicare gives someone 100 days of home care, which gives a more appropriate amount of care. 

“They get robo-called. They get told ‘you’re going to get this,’” she said. She said that they get told they’re getting perks, but some things will be taken away. The robo-calls don’t tell the patients about the care that will be removed.

Harvey proposed that maybe someone with training and knowledge of different insurance plans and companies would be able to be a resource for patients. Therefore, the patients still have the choice of switching insurance plans, but they can discuss their options with someone more knowledgeable.

“We just discharged two people last week who ended up switching to a different insurance and had no idea that they switched,” said Harvey, indicating the person thought they were getting a supplement.

Harvey said that switching insurance is the best option for some because there are benefits, but many with debilitating diseases need the 100 days of home care and should be given a resource to discuss their choices.

“I’m just wondering what the county can do,” said committee chair Blaine Wilcher, “I don’t know if the Health Department can help us out on this any as far as being a go-between.” 

He said that there might be grants available to help fund a position. 

“Maybe it’s something that the county and city can work together on,” Wilcher said. “I’m sure there’s something that could be done about it.”

Committee members told Harvey they will do research to figure out a possible solution to help the senior citizens in the community.