Community services

Two join the Aroostook Agency on Aging Community Services team

There have been two recent additions to the Community Services branch of the Aroostook Agency on Aging. Rick Bragg, Community Outreach and Education Manager, and Kimberly James, Medicare Education Coordinator, will report to Judy Anderson, Director of Community and Volunteer Services.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — There have been two recent additions to the Community Services branch of the Aroostook Agency on Aging.

Rick Bragg, Community Outreach and Education Manager, and Kimberly James, Medicare Education Coordinator, will report to Judy Anderson, Director of Community and Volunteer Services.

“Rick and Kim joined our team during Open Medicare Enrollment, our busiest time of year; and, they hit the ground running,” Anderson said. “They learn quickly and have exceptional interpersonal skills. Combined with their strong business background, organizational skills and dedication to helping others, they will certainly strengthen the Agency’s services.

Bragg’s role is to lead the Agency’s efforts specific to outreach and education, including outreach, benefit enrollment assistance, evidence-based wellness programs and a variety of other community educational offerings.

Bragg, of Près Isle, oversees three outreach specialists who are located in the area to help community members 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 build awareness and education, especially in the more remote areas of the county. I appreciate the teamwork approach to care and achieving the best results for our consumers,” added Bragg.

Bragg brings his experience from the field of education where he taught health and physical education and later worked in administration at Mars Hill and Washburn. Most recently he worked with Northern Lighthouse, a residential group home in Mars Hill. “My whole 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 uses these skills to answer consumer questions and train volunteers to better understand different insurance plans.

“I am determined to help find answers for the person approaching retirement and for those seeking assistance in comparing traditional Medicare with Medicare Advantage and other insurance policies. Medicare can be very confusing; not all cases are the same,” James said.

A large part of James’ responsibilities include helping people connect to Medicare resources and navigate rules and regulations set by Social Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.

“Sometimes it’s a headache. I look forward to returning to in-person clinics and seeing community members again,” she said.

A resident of Washburn, James is a graduate of Fort Fairfield High School and the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She has held positions with non-profit organizations including the Maine State Workers’ Compensation Board, AR Gould Hospital, and the Maine Veterans Home. Her most recent experience was with ACAP’s Home Energy Assistance Program.

Recent publicity for Medicare Advantage plans, she explained, is confusing and has caused individuals to worry about their coverage. “My goal is to bring a sense of peace and understanding; to educate the community about health insurance options and fraud prevention to help eliminate their concerns,” James said.

Anderson agrees. “We understand that choosing Medicare options can be complicated. The Agency on Aging can help you find the best policy for your situation, compare different plans, and help with nominations. 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 enable seniors to lead comfortable, healthy and independent lives,” she said.