Humans of Gravie: Barbara

April 5, 2016


Barbara is a person you remember for a long time after you meet her. She’s passionate. Confident. Artistic. Intriguing. She has a German Shepherd that she adores, she’s an avid gardener, and loves cooking. Her yard is home to a new cherry tree that bloomed for the first time last summer. She’s a filmmaker who specializes in documentaries and she founded a nonprofit called TVbyGIRLS to help girls develop leadership skills, collaborative skills, and cross-cultural understanding. The girls work with women filmmakers to understand how media influences our society and are encouraged to share their own stories through creative projects.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that someone who understands the impact of storytelling so well would be so eager to share her story with Gravie. But Barbara did more than just share her story with us. She reenergized us. She personified the sense of purpose we all feel working for Gravie.

Finding an Expert to Trust

It’s a brisk day in early March, and Barbara sits next to Megan, the Gravie advisor she’s built a relationship with over the past year. After countless phone calls and emails, it’s the first time Megan and Barbara have met in person.

Barbara looks at Megan and says “I trust you, I trust you enormously. When I found you I felt like I could go, okay someone else is in this with me. Someone who has a sense of who I am and who knows the system in a way that I don’t.

Barbara has had diabetes for about 20 years. Not long after being diagnosed, the maintenance of her diabetes went from diet and exercise to insulin. Her life depends on her ability to get insulin. 

So when Barbara retired from teaching and was no longer eligible for a group health insurance plan provided by the state of Minnesota, she switched to an individual plan with the same health insurance company. She picked the plan because it looked identical to the one that she had had as a teacher.

There was a problem though. The health insurance plan wasn’t identical to what she had before. The insulin pods that Barbara’s life depends on weren’t covered. But it wasn’t until months later, that she learned this when she received a hefty medical bill. 

Barbara was scared and frustrated. She called the health insurance company numerous times, spending hours on the phone. The more time she spent trying to get answers, the more stressed and further from an answer she felt. 

“What I’ve learned from diabetes is that stress makes my blood sugar go high. I knew I needed to solve this and I knew I needed help.” 

Barbara called Gravie and was soon working with Megan on a regular basis.

A Support System to Help Navigate the Complex

“When I found Megan, I felt like I wasn’t alone. There was someone who would answer my questions honestly and research my situation. I found someone in my court. I found Megan and it was like finding my guardian angel.” 

Megan dug into Barbara’s complex situation. Her insulin pods were in fact covered by her plan, but there was no place that carried the pods that was covered by the plan. It was essentially a phantom benefit. There was no where Barbara could go to get her insulin pods, something her life depended on.

Megan and Barbara worked tirelessly to figure out a solution with Barbara’s current plan. But ultimately Barbara switched plans and health insurance companies. This time around she wasn’t alone in making the change and figuring out the benefits of her plan. She had Gravie and Megan, just a phone call or email away. 

“I feel protected with Gravie. Megan and I have had months of talking twice a week. We always check in. We always have each other on our minds,” Barbara says of her and Megan’s relationship.

Barbara and Gravie have the same philosophy about health insurance: “Health insurance should help you. It should keep you healthy. The system’s complexities shouldn’t stop you from moving forward.”

“Megan was persistent, knowledgeable, and she knows the healthcare system. She wants people to be helped. She wants people to be taken care of. I don’t think I have a relationship with someone that I trust as much as Megan. I feel like I have Megan’s full attention.”

Looking at Megan, Barbara says, “Healthcare is a whole different experience for me with you. You saved my life, I think.”

Are you a Gravie member who wants more personalized help dealing with your benefits? You’re in luck! Each member who signs up with Gravie also gets Gravie Care. Gravie Care gives you free, year-round access to the Gravie advisors who can help you with any question, big or small. Call the advisors at 800.501.2920 or email to start taking advantage of your Gravie Care benefits.

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