Lorie Henry is reimagining the role to further improve service to Benefits Plan members.
Caring, kindness, and integrity. Combine those attributes with a deep knowledge of the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and you have the ideal Member Advocate.
Meet Lorie Henry, selected in May to fill this position at the Board of Pensions. She replaced Annette Donald, who retired after 23 years at the Board, the last 11 as Member Advocate. Ms. Donald helped develop the role as another level of assistance for plan members, facing an increasingly complex healthcare system.
The Member Advocate takes on matters escalated from the first level of assistance, which the Board’s in-house customer service team provides when answering calls on 800-PRESPLAN. So, if a service representative is unable to resolve a member’s issue — a questionable denial of a claim for medical service or a prescription, for example — the Member Advocate steps in.
“Lorie was selected for this important role not only because of her depth and breadth of plan knowledge, but also because she has demonstrated a solid history of service excellence,” said Yvette Russell-Minor, the Board’s Director of Customer Engagement.
“Serving as the Member Advocate allows me to do what I’m really passionate about — being on the front lines, in a member-facing position,” said Ms. Henry, who joined the Board nearly 23 years ago in data entry when the agency still administered medical claims. She spent 10 years as a Disability Specialist and most recently was a Benefits Analyst focused on administrative and compliance functions for the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
As Ms. Henry carries out the traditional tasks of the Member Advocate, she is also reimagining the role to further strengthen how the Board serves members. “In addition to responding to the need of an individual member, we’re going to work on identifying trends in the issues being escalated,” she said.
Putting metrics to work on trends will help the Board identify any gaps in its service delivery. Perhaps clearer communication is needed around a particular benefit so a member better understands how to use it or service representatives require training on a particular point, Ms. Henry said.
“It’s really kind of cool to think of it in that expanded way,” Ms. Henry said of the Member Advocate role. As someone who takes serving members personally, she is excited about being able to generate service improvement on a wider scale.
“It’s rewarding to see that what we do has a tangible impact on the daily lives of members and their families,” Ms. Henry said. “I appreciate being able to serve in an empathetic role, to let members know that we are here for them.”