Submitted by Unity Care NW

In May of last year, Unity Care NW staff jumped into action. The COVID-19 public health emergency came to an end, reviving annual enrollment requirements for Americans on Medicaid.  The community health center provides whole person care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, and this change in policy put tens of thousands of local residents at risk of losing their health care.

Unity Care NW’s Outreach & Enrollment team spent much of the next 12 months calling, texting, and meeting with as many local Medicaid enrollees as possible to help them keep or find new health insurance plans. Their Enrollment Specialists are certified in-person assistors to help patients navigate Washington State’s Health Benefit Exchange. They can help anyone apply for or renew their health insurance coverage for free.

In July, the following letter was sent [1] from the niece of a patient who received services from one of Unity Care NW’s Enrollment Specialists, Neyda Gonzalez, highlighting the compassion that these essential health care workers bring to each interaction.

“I recently had the pleasure of meeting Neyda Gonzalez at the Unity Care NW insurance enrollment office. 

Neyda provided outstanding support for my elderly disabled uncle. His situation is complicated to say the least, it has been difficult understanding the different layers of DSHS and impossible to get anywhere with the urgency of his needs. We felt fortunate to find that such a place as this enrollment office even existed.

For the past couple of months his care has been in my hands, every day is a doctor appointment, emergency room visit, or a phone call about medications, or tour of an assisted living facility. It’s hard to keep trying with a positive attitude.

Through our battle when we leave somewhere we went to for help, only more tasks are put on our plate. More running around. More confusion. More voicemails.  No answers. ‘Go there, call this number, here’s a pamphlet’ are often all that we leave with after hours waiting on hold or in lobbies…

Until we met Neyda.

Neyda lifted our spirits and patiently LISTENED to us without interrupting. She DID NOT cut us off because she assumed she knew what we needed…

If we didn’t provide bank statements, receipts, a signed letter on how his money was spent, a copy of the tax form he filled out, a copy of the check… all to be turned in with less than a week he could lose his medical coverage. 

Neyda went out of her way to explain some crucial information. Then, without even being asked, printed out copies for us to use towards resolving his circumstances before it was too late! Neyda whizzed through my uncle’s application with ease and provided us a phone number to call.

Neyda boosted our morale and treated us with the respect we forgot we deserved.

Thank you so much, Neyda. You’re literally the best at what you do.

Thank you for the hope and the help.”

Unity Care NW staff helped 1,165 patients keep their Medicaid coverage and 215 find health plans on the state exchange since Medicaid revived annual enrollment requirements in May of 2023.

For more insights into Unity Care NW’s work and impact, please refer to their recently released Annual Report.

[1] Some information has been removed to protect patient confidentiality.

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