Health Advocate helps cut through red tape

The U.S. healthcare system is very complex and can often be difficult to navigate. Where do you turn when you are confused by medical bills or need help finding the right doctor? And what can you do if you try to schedule an appointment, only to be told that the next opening isn’t for another six months?

Health Advocate is a free and confidential, easy-to-use resource offered through the Division of Human Resources (HR) to help Penn employees and their families resolve healthcare-related issues.

Available toll-free at 1-866-799-2329, Personal Health Advocates (PHA)—trained professionals, typically registered nurses supported by medical directors and benefits and claims specialists—will work with Penn faculty and staff on a one-on-one basis to find the solutions they need. Employees generally will be able to speak with the same PHA each time they call, except after hours or on weekends.

PHAs serve as liaisons for employees with healthcare providers, insurance plans, and other health-related community resources. University faculty and staff can receive assistance finding primary care and specialist physicians, obtaining approval for covered services, and clarifying Medicare coverage for elderly parents. They can also get help resolving claims and billing, and locating the right treatment facilities.

If an employee is given a lengthy wait to see a specialist, and if it is clear that the condition requires an earlier appointment, a PHA will call the specialist and attempt to arrange a more timely appointment.

Faculty or staff confused by medical jargon or a drug recently prescribed can call a PHA, who may be able to help them better understand their condition, explaining it in the simplest of terms.

Health Advocate provides assistance with dental issues too.

All benefits-eligible faculty and staff can use Health Advocate, whether they are covered under Penn’s health benefits or not. Eligible family members, including spouse/partner, children, parents and parents-in laws, can access the service as well.

For more information, visit the HR website.

Health Advocate