Welcome to Rosana Bruhnke! She is one of our newest Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) liaisons. She works at Area 1 Agency on Aging in Humboldt, and has a passion for assisting seniors with their Medicare issues.
Rosana moved to the United States in 1997 from Argentina. She taught herself English from scratch by watching TV shows on PBS like Sesame Street, Clifford, Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, as well as the 5 o’clock news. Before her move, she worked in Argentina in a criminal court, taking testimonies and reports. Were it not for her move to the US and getting married, Rosana says she would have gone to law school.
Her first job in the US was as a caregiver, something she still loves to do this day. She has also worked in memory care and facilities, giving her a great foundation to work with seniors.
Rosana started working in the Information and Assist program because she is bilingual in English and Spanish, and was able to help and reach out to Hispanic community to get vaccination appointments and transportation. During this time she would come into the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office once in a while and talk to Ben Winker, Humboldt’s HICAP manager, who soon invited Rosana to come work for HICAP – the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. She had some knowledge about HICAP through her daughter, who works for HICAP in Petaluma. She said yes, and the rest is history! She has been working full time with HICAP since February 2021.
She became interested in becoming an SMP liaison because she would answer the phone and answer a ton of questions. If anything related to fraud, she would set up an appointment with another counselor there who was a liaison. To streamline the process, she had a meeting with Sandy Morales, and officially became a liaison as of March!
Rosana says she really loves her job, and has a lot of fun. She loves counseling and talking to people. Seniors are so thankful for their services, she says, and her favorite ones are people who qualify for extra help and didn’t know that they did. She describes herself as a detective for them, something she finds especially rewarding.
Now that things are opening back up, she is able to do more in person educational sessions. She just did a session with an assisted living facility, where she stresses it is especially important to teach about phone scams.
Whether Rosana has a counseling session or a presentation, she says she never skips out on stressing the importance of protecting oneself from Medicare fraud. Her favorite comparison to make is between a credit card number and Medicare number. People would never give out their credit card number, and the same should be done for their Medicare number, she says. This is a strong and effective way to help people realize the importance of their card, and has even helped beneficiaries realize they have been scammed.
Thank you for all the work you do, Rosana! We are excited to have you on our SMP Liaison team! Please join us in warmly welcoming Rosana :).