Two join Aroostook Agency on Aging Community Services team
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — There have been two recent additions to the Community Services arm of the Aroostook Agency on Aging.
Rick Bragg, manager of community outreach and education, and Kimberly James, Medicare education coordinator, will report to Judy Anderson, director of community and volunteer services.
“Rick and Kim joined our team during Medicare Open Enrollment, our busiest time of the year; and, they have hit the ground running,” Anderson said. “They are fast learners and have exceptional people skills. Combined with their strong business backgrounds, organizational skills, and dedication to helping others, they will certainly strengthen Agency services.”
Bragg’s role is to lead the Agency’s efforts specific to outreach and education, including information, assistance with benefit enrollment, evidenced-based wellness programs, and a variety of other community educational offerings.
Bragg, of Presque Isle, oversees three outreach specialists who are located regionally to assist community members to learn about services, apply for benefits, and connect with community resources. Although in person community outreach has been limited during the coronavirus pandemic, the new manager sees opportunities. “My goal is to strengthen outreach and education, especially in the most remote regions of the County. I appreciate the teamwork approach to care and getting the best outcomes for our consumers,” Bragg added.
Bragg brings experience from the field of education where he taught health and physical education and later worked in administration in Mars Hill and Washburn. Most recently, he served with Northern Lighthouse, a residential group home in Mars Hill. “All of my work experience has been helping people. I look forward to working with my associates here at the Agency to provide community members with access to the information and resources they need to continue to live in their home communities” he said.
James joined the Agency on Aging in October and immediately went to work studying the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Now a certified counselor, she is putting these skills to work responding to consumers’ questions and training volunteers to better understand various insurance plans.
“I’m determined to help find answers for the person nearing retirement and for those asking for help comparing traditional Medicare with Medicare Advantage and other insurance policies. Medicare can be very confusing; not all cases are the same,” James said.
Much of James’ responsibilities involve helping people connect with Medicare resources and navigating rules and regulations established by Social Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.
“It’s sometimes a puzzle. I can’t wait to get back to in-person clinics and seeing community members again,” she said.
A Washburn resident, James graduated from Fort Fairfield High School, and University of Maine at Fort Kent. She has held positions with non-profit organizations, including the State of Maine Workers Compensation Board, AR Gould Hospital, and the Maine Veterans Home. Her most recent experience was with ACAP’s Home Energy Assistance Program.
Recent advertising for Medicare Advantage plans, she explained, is confusing and has caused individuals to be worried about their coverage. “My goal is to bring a sense of peace and understanding; to educate the community about Medicare options and fraud prevention to help eliminate their worries,” James said.
Anderson agrees. “We understand that choosing Medicare options can be complicated. The Agency on Aging can help with finding the best policy for your situation, comparing the different plans, and helping with applications. We welcome your call – 207-764-3396; no question is too big or too small. We are here to help you navigate insurance options and participate in many other wellness programs that allow older adults to live comfortable, healthy, and independent lives,” she said.