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Help Beyond the Doctor’s Office

Getting access to high-quality medical care often starts with the basics: being able to get to your doctor’s office in the first place.

In fact, the vast majority of factors that affect your health—as much as 60 percent—happen outside a doctor’s office. They are why Aetna has programs such as Resources For Living.®

Resources For Living consultants work directly with Medicare Advantage members to connect them to critical local serv­ices. If you’re having trouble getting to see your doctor, a consultant can help locate transportation. If you’re having trouble eating nutritiously, a consultant can help arrange for meals to be delivered to your home.

Think of the program as a one-stop concierge service, aiming to save members time and frustration, increase their awareness of local community services—and provide peace of mind.

It’s having a conversation with someone on the other end of the line as if they’re a loved one,” said Brooke Wilson, head of Worklife Services for Resources For Living.

“The initial conversation to listen to the member’s needs firsthand is the most important thing,” Wilson said. “The consultant is actually calling all the businesses to try to fill those needs. The consultant will then call the member back in a day or two to report what they have found. It’s all about taking the burden off the member and providing solutions in a compassionate manner.”

Consultants help members in a wide range of areas, including: transportation, housing, recreation, food programs, emergency financial assistance, heat and utility assistance, and adult day care services. Although the initial conversation is critical, the follow-ups are important, too, and consultants stay in contact with members to make sure they have what they need and are able to use the recommended services.


With Aetna Resources Consultant

Discover Nikki’s health story
Summer Sage-Sorley
Summer is a counselor for Aetna’s Resources For Living program. She joined Aetna in 2005 after earning her master’s in social work from University of Texas at Austin.
What motivated you to become a counselor?

When I was a student of massage therapy, I got interested in a class on “somatic psychology.” We learned how our body processes emotions and thoughts. I learned that I was more interested in helping clients manage stress than in massage.

What’s the best piece of health advice you ever received?

Make sleep a priority.

What do you want people to learn from stories like Nikki’s?

Living with a chronic health condition can cause physical and emotional challenges. If you’re dealing with both, you aren’t alone. Find a place where you can share your situation freely without worrying about what others think.

“A consultant generally will follow up a couple weeks after the initial call,” Wilson said. “We also encourage members to call back as much as they need to. The consultants really enjoy talking to our members, and they form a special bond with each other.”

Aetna piloted Resources For Living in 2016 in New York and Texas, then—seeing how successful it was—expanded it in 2018 to include all individual and Group Medicare Advantage members.

“By early 2017, we knew that we could go nationwide with this,” said Thom Sargent, the senior director of Medicare STARS Member Experience at Aetna.

Scaling up from 20,000 members to 1.5 million, Sargent admitted, “is no small undertaking.” But it was worth the effort. It’s one more way for Aetna to show we’re a trusted advocate for our Medicare members.

One particularly poignant example took place in Georgia last summer. An Aetna member had recently lost his home and was living out of his car, parking in lots at Walmart to sleep.

“His doctor’s office contacted Aetna and it was funneled to us,” said Denise Crowley, a Resources For Living consultant.

Although the member was a veteran, he wasn’t using his veteran’s benefits or any other services available to him. In just a couple of hours, Crowley said, “I connected him with case management services, affordable housing referrals, emergency financial assistance and various local resources for the elderly and homeless.”

Months later, we checked in with the member and found him doing well and living with a family member elsewhere in Georgia.

“Helping to make a positive impact on our members’ lives is why we come to work every day,” Crowley said. “Members can reach out to Resources For Living and connect with a live person who listens to their concerns, cares about what happens to them and helps them connect with local services to meet their needs.”

Aetna Medicare is a PDP, HMO, PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Our SNPs also have contracts with State Medicaid programs.  Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change on January 1 of each year. See Evidence of Coverage for a complete description of plan benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features and availability may vary by service area.

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