2020 Winter Newsletter

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Thoughts from RSVP Suffolk’s HIICAP Program Coordinator Maryflorence Brennan

I want to extend the most sincere thank you to all of the HIICAP counselors for helping so many of Suffolk County Medicare beneficiaries find their way during this open enrollment period. Often, I am asked what qualities are necessary to be an excellent HIICAP counselor. All of the counselors must be dedicated. They work as a team but often find that they have to face their next challenge solo. They need to be willing to embrace a difficult learning curve and then face it again when half of what they learned changed overnight. They must genuinely care about people and be kind. But this year, most of all, the HIICAP Counselors needed to have patience. Every year we are faced with seemingly unsurmountable challenges but this year we were faced with a challenge that couldn’t be measured or captured-- the challenge of making sense out of the cloud of misleading information cast over our clients.

A HIICAP counselor’s job is to provide accurate, free and unbiased information about Medicare. Each HIICAP counselor had to find a way to guide their clients through the onslaught and maze of confusing and misleading information that was being delivered to them daily by mail, radio and television. Not a session began without reference to something our clients had heard from somewhere or someone. Patience is a virtue that each counselor had to embrace at the beginning of every session and then again at the end when our clients couldn’t help but ask, “Are you sure?” They ask only because they know they are going to go home to the next stream of advertisements and need strength.

Finding their way through this information overload was tough enough but then the counselors once again had to reach deep inside their souls for patience because the new Medicare Plan Finder was rolled out just weeks before open enrollment began. Then they had to learn about the new Medicare Plan Finder, embrace it and then find a way to deliver “accurate” information in spite of the New Plan Finders glitches that made a tool that was once reliable and pretty simple a new challenge all its own.

Our HIICAP Counselors are amazing individuals who have given so much of themselves to help so many people in our community. We want to thank them for their unending patience, and we want to wish them all an especially happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.

Looking to get away from all this winter fun? Why not plan a day trip to

Located at 1200 Route 25A in beautiful, historic Stony Brook, the Carriage Museum is part of the Long Island Museum which is a Smithsonian affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. The Carriage Museum includes eight renovated galleries that tell the story of transportation before the automobile. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 12 Noon until 5 pm. Admission is $10 per person, $7 for seniors 62 and older. For more information, please call the Long Island Museum at 631-751-0066.

For the past 15 years, the staff of RSVP has had the privilege of working under the guidance of our Executive Director, Pegi Orsino. Thank you Pegi for all you have done, not only for leading and growing the organization, but for being the kind, generous and understanding person all of us could always count on for help and support with any issue or concern the day might bring! You are simply the best!! And so, your staff, along with the Board of Directors, wish you every happiness as you begin this new journey.

And to all our volunteers, friends and supporters, we extend our best wishes for a new year filled with peace, joy and lots of good health.