Alec Shea saw a gaping hole in the health-care screening business, and knew something or someone needed to step in and fill it.
“What happens is a lot of times hospitals will pay for patients to be screened for Medi-Cal, and the person may have family members who aren’t screened,” explained Shea, who had worked for a number of years with companies serving the uninsured population, when he discovered the problem.
To remedy that unequal situation, Shea founded a non-profit organization called the CoverMe Foundation in September 2007, and then instead of waiting for potential clients to come to him, he sent his people out looking for them.
“The most frustrated group of people are those individuals who make up the working poor,” explained Shea about the health care gap that nearly 50 million people in the United States face. ” . . . Sometimes they don’t know if they’re eligible or not. Through our process we are able to provide them with the evidence and show them that they [qualify for a government program] or show them that they are able to purchase a small individual or family policy.”
Shea said the CoverMe Foundation partners with people and organizations in the community to get the word out about the services available, and the foundation does not just focus on health care, although that is a primary area of concern.
“If they need rental assistance or utility assistance (we can help). Health care is more than just providing health insurance; It makes sure that people are healthy in all aspects of their lives,” Shea said.
CoverMe connects people nationwide with the resources, and then goes the next step further to help them apply for the potential benefits.
People can self refer as well as call for a friend or family member.
Shea said if a person does not quality for any public benefits and truly cannot afford to pay for health care, his organization wants to also help them find hospitals that will provide services on a charitable basis.
And for the individuals, primarily the working poor, who are too rich for government help but make too little money to pay for the health coverage themselves, the CoverMe founder said his organization will work with them to help better their situation in some way that might allow them to be able to afford to purchase a health insurance policy in time.
“Here’s a situation we run into a lot; people are amazed when they actually qualify, and people qualify for a lot more than they think,” pointed out Shea.
Most of the work of the CoverMe Foundation is done by phone. Individuals can call (877) NSUREME1 (877) 678-7631 to get the paper work started.
Organization officials will be in Los Angeles Sept. 7 to introduce the program to local churches and other groups interested in partnering with them.
For more information about the foundation, visit the Web site at www.covermefoundation.org. If you are interested in partnering with the group, call (307) 460-2013.