Robert Larsen had just arrived home from a hospital stay in April 2022 when he noticed an incoming call from his health insurance company flash across his phone. He hesitated to answer.
“I was sure it meant problems with my insurance,” recalls Larsen. “It was the last thing I needed.”
Larsen, who is 48 years old, was in the midst of a health crisis. A month before the hospital stay, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. His treatment plan included chemotherapy followed by surgery. However, before treatment began, a blockage left him so sick that he ended up in the ER. This was followed by surgery and a two-week hospital stay.
At home, Larsen’s new reality was difficult. But for some reason, when his phone rang that day, he picked it up. “There were no insurance concerns,” said Larsen. “The phone call was from a nurse, and she was incredibly helpful. It felt like someone was reaching out to help me when I needed it most.”
The nurse who called that day was Brooke D., a case manager with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She reached out to Larsen as part of Wellmark’s Transition of Care program. Wellmark members are identified for the program when they experience a hospital admission for a condition that indicates extra support would be helpful.
Connecting the missing pieces
“We reach out during an often hectic and traumatic time,” says Brooke. “There’s discharge planning, rehabilitation, medications, follow-up appointments, home health care and more. We’re trained to look for things that will help patients feel better, physically and emotionally. It's our goal to reduce a patient's risk of being readmitted by connecting any missing pieces of their care plan."
Help when you need it most
Larsen appreciated the additional care the program offered. “When you’re faced with a diagnosis like this, it’s hard to process. It can feel like you’re going through the motions,” he says. “Your mind is in a fog, and sometimes it feels as though things are just happening to you. There’s a loss of control. I was dealing with far more than a diagnosis. It affects all aspects of your life, including your job, your finances and your future. It’s a lot to take in.”
Brooke understands, adding “Robert has been through an incredibly difficult situation. It’s impressive, how he’s pushed through this. We worked through his treatment plan and discussed ways to manage anxiety and develop coping skills, which are crucial when you're faced with something this life-altering."
A year later, Larsen continues treatment and talks with Brooke periodically through Wellmark’s case management program, which provides support for members with complex conditions, helping to reduce complications and achieve goals.
Larsen also calls Brooke whenever he has a health-related concern. “She’s just there when there’s a problem, which makes a huge difference in my comfort level,” says Larsen. “She looks out for me and advocates on my behalf. Her advice has helped me avoid more harrowing emergency room visits and hospital stays. If she can’t answer a question, she knows the right people to ask. Her care has definitely had a positive impact on my life.”
How to get the care you need, when you need it
No matter where you are on your health care journey, Wellmark is here for you. Just follow these two simple steps:
Update your contact information
In order to help you, we need to be able to reach you. That's why you should always make sure your profile information is updated in myWellmark®, your personalized health insurance website. If you prefer, you can update your contact information by calling customer service at the phone number listed on the back of your ID card.
Call BeWell 24/7SM
Whenever you have health questions, call 844-84-BEWELL (239355). BeWell 24/7 is our no-cost health information hotline, and its available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call if you have questions about an upcoming procedure, if you need to know the best place to go for care based on your symptoms, or if you are experiencing a complex health situation and have questions.
Wellmark’s Transition of Care and Case Management programs are currently not available to Medicare supplement members.