LINCOLNTON––She is simply the best.
She is Lauren Heavner, the co-ordinator for nutrition and the Seniors’ Health Insurance Program (or SHIIP) at Lincoln County Senior Services. And according to LCSS Director Kathryn Saine, Heavner recently earned an important award from the North Carolina SHIIP Division: Piedmont Region Co-ordinator of the Year.
Heavner and Saine both told The Herald more on Friday. Heavner said the SHIIP’s Piedmont Region is comprised of 24 counties.
“I feel very blessed to have received this award,” she said. “It came as a complete surprise to me!”
Heavner explained that the winners of the SHIIP’s awards received them for their outstanding work in providing free, unbiased counselling about Medicare and other health insurance issues to Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina. The SHIIP is a division of the N.C. Department of Insurance that offers free, objective information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. And last year, Heavner and her six fellow SHIIP team counsellors provided a cost savings of $165,444 to the 290 clients they served.
“The SHIIP is such a beneficial program to our seniors,” she said. “It is always so heartwarming for me when I am able to assist a client. Clients come to us usually in times of great stress and worry, and I feel honored to be able to ease their worries by helping them navigate their Medicare needs.”
Heavner added that the general open enrollment period (or OEP) for Medicare is coming up soon. It’s Oct. 15-Dec. 7.
“And we welcome Medicare beneficiaries to call us at Lincoln County Senior Services to schedule an appointment,” she continued.
That number for LCSS is (704) 732-9053. Heavner said that a combination of in-person and Internet-based appointments would be used during this upcoming OEP.
Saine extolled Heavner as a dedicated staffer.
“Lauren’s greatest strength is the relationship she has formed with all of her SHIIP counsellors,” she said. “She takes the time to get to know each one individually, and she makes them feel valued and appreciated. She is extremely thoughtful, always leaving thank-you notes or little gifts of appreciation, just to let her counsellors know how much she values them. She will go out of her way to make sure all of her counsellors have the information and tools they need to be successful and to feel supported.
“Our SHIIP program is probably the strongest it has ever been,” Saine added, “and that is all due to Lauren’s leadership and dedication.”
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