Faces of Success: Mary Smith
We’ve all seen the television commercial from an insurance company promising 15 percent savings in 15 minutes. Haley Helms unexpectedly surpassed those numbers assisting a United Way of Metropolitan Nashville 2-1-1 Helpline caller last month.
Helms vividly remembers Mary Smith’s* call. Smith’s son James* is a diabetic and needs insulin medication. James has health insurance but had not met his deductible and the cost of his medication is $400 dollars a month. His mother turned to United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline, and Helms was there to answer the call.
“She needed financial assistance to help cover the cost of her son’s prescription because his insurance wasn’t providing the family any financial relief,” said Helms.
Smith needed a quick solution, so Helms suggested the United Way partnership with the FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card program.
“I told her, ‘If you have a minute, I can check their website,’” she said. “She provided me with her ZIP code, prescription name and quantity. I plugged that information into the website’s search tool.”
The result was unreal; the same medicine that originally cost $400 dollars a month would now cost the Smiths $88 dollars monthly. Helms couldn’t believe it.
“I was hesitating to tell her because we never want to give someone a false sense of hope,” Helms said. “I was scared that I entered the incorrect information, so I had her spell the name of the medication out again. I also asked her, ‘Are you sure that’s the right quantity that you are looking for?’” After Helms confirmed that all the information was correct, she broke the excellent news to Mrs. Smith and immediately realized what the savings meant to this family.
“Mrs. Smith was getting choked up and began crying; I was getting choked up too.”
Before this phone conversation concluded, Helms located a pharmacy that accepted Smith’s new FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card. She also helped her download information to her phone so that she could get her son’s prescription filled at its reduced price that same day. The entire scenario played out perfectly. At the end of the call, Smith was gathering her purse and getting ready to head to the pharmacy.
“I kept thinking, ‘What a difference this savings is going to make on this family’s financial stability moving forward,’” Helms said. “They have been scraping their money together every month to make sure that they had the $400 dollars they needed for this medication. The long-term impact of this savings is so powerful.”
Middle Tennessee residents have felt the powerful impact of United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline for more than 10 years. 2-1-1 is available to callers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year via phone or text. More than 5,000 resources are just a call or text away for residents in Davidson and 41 surrounding counties. The 2-1-1 Helpline uses call data (ZIP codes) to refer individuals and families to nearby resources that can meet their needs.
Helms was a transformative resource for the Smith family when they turned to United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline. By continuing the conversation, she was able to impact a family’s financial outcomes and also keep herself energized in her work.
“We know that each and every time we answer a call there is the potential to improve the quality of life for the person on the other end,” she said. “I think everybody at 2-1-1 can grasp that, even when the volume is high and we answer contacts back-to-back from residents in desperate need.”
This is one example of the daily successes of United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline. Fifteen minutes saved the Smith family more than 78 percent on the cost of their prescription.
*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the client.