Saturday, October 10, 2009

Creative Loafing Columnist Compliments Commissioner

John Grooms of the popular Creative Loafing publication in Charlotte surprised me recently. His very kind column, linked here, appeared from out of nowhere, and is the type of pleasant surprise for persons in public service that makes up for many of those days when the burdens of one's job seem extra heavy.
The text appears below:
Amazing – public servant actually serving public
September 28th, 2009 by John Grooms in Boomer with an Attitude

"Many of us have grown so cynical about politics, it’s often just assumed that once politicians get into office, they forget their promises and start figuring out ways to cash in. Which makes news of an elected official doing his/her job — actually being conscientious! — a pleasant surprise. The BlueNC Web site reports on actions by NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin to fight insurance fraud. Not just penny-ante cases, either. Last Tuesday, they arrested the CEO of Pace Airlines for skipping out on his employees’ health insurance plan; and on the same day, they busted Mark Hall, the owner of Market Street Advisors of Smithfield for ripping off $168,000 in life insurance annuities from a 90-year-old woman in Garner. So far this year, Goodwin’s department has successfully prosecuted 67 criminal cases, with over $9.7 million in restitutions and recoveries.

“Oh, that’s it?” you ask. Yep, that’s it, but consider that 10 percent of your insurance premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. Goodwin and his beefed-up crew of investigators are, amazing as it may seem, doing good work for the public good, and they deserve to get credit."
Thank you, Mr. Grooms! The Department of Insurance and I will continue to do our best for North Carolinians from Manteo to Morrisville to Matthews to Murphy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Launches Effort to Help 80,000 Citizens Obtain Reduced Prescription Drug Costs

Today I had the honor and privilege to join Senior Tar Heel Legislators from across North Carolina and representatives of our 800 volunteers in the SHIIP program in our kick-off to obtain reduced prescription drug costs for 80,000 senior citizens.

Learn more here at this link.

Here is an excerpt:
RALEIGH -- More than 100 seniors pounded the pavement today at a relay event in Raleigh to kickoff a statewide enrollment campaign for Medicare's "Extra Help" low-income subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs that help eligible Medicare recipients pay for their prescription drug coverage and medicines and other Medicare medical coverage.

The campaign called "Relay for Extra Help" encourages Medicare recipients to help each other by relaying the message to their local communities that financial assistance is available - even for those who might not typically receive federal assistance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has identified that North Carolina has more than 80,000 Medicare recipients who potentially qualify for the cost-saving programs, but have not enrolled.

The N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislators attended a relay event in Raleigh where they agreed to relay the message back to all 100 counties. The Relay for Extra Help campaign's goal is to find and enroll eligible Medicare recipients in either the federal Low-Income Subsidy program that helps pay for Medicare prescription drug coverage and medicines or the Medicare Savings Program that helps pay for Medicare Part A and B premiums.
In remarks to the rally, I exclaimed:

"It's great to have so many seniors here today who are committed to taking the Extra Help message back to their communities," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "North Carolina has more than 80,000 people on Medicare who could be receiving Medicare's Low-Income Subsidy benefits, but have not yet signed up. Our goal is to relay this message to every town in the state, find these folks and get them enrolled so that they can start receiving help paying for their Medicare prescription drug premiums and medicines."

Here is a very short video from today's event, courtesy of Channel 17 in Raleigh. Partners with your Department of Insurance on this endeavor are the NC Department of Health and Human Services and others.

This Relay for Extra Help is a great opportunity for many families. To find out whether you or a loved one is eligible, then please call toll-free 800-443-9354 or visit