For my STEP signature project I was an intern at the Ohio Department of Insurance in the OSHIIP Division (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program). For my internship I accepted and responded to phone calls into the State of Ohio office regarding Medicare, Medicaid and various other health insurance issues for those who are Medicare eligible.
I would say my view of the World (state) has definitely changed. Before I accepted this internship I had no idea about how government agencies worked and how they helped folks that needed help. After my internship I know now that there is many state programs to help those who are Medicare eligible. Since it is a huge topic in recent elections and political agendas I was able to express and further my opinion as an informed individual.
I have also learned to understand myself more. Before accepting this internship I did not have the chance to work for a state agency or hold any other job besides being a team member at Dicks Sporting Goods. I was able to learn how I function in a “corporate” world. I also was able to learn more about my actual feelings of helping people in my future job. Meaning, I always wanted to hold a job that helps people from a financial standpoint, and I think that working for any state agency in the future would allow me to accomplish that goal. I also assumed that the entire public knew their options when it came to healthcare and Medicare specifically, but this is very untrue. This made me want to educate those who are Medicare eligible around me outside of work.
During my internship I had the chance to meet a lot of great people. These folks I dealt with everyday and they will help me in my future endeavors. However, there wasn’t really a chance for events or special things considering we are funded through a state budget. So the only time I had the chance to bond with those around me was in the office while I was working. Just working everyday with the public with a group of other like minded individuals helped me gain knowledge and want to go to work everyday and help those that called in and needed assistance. I think that the most valuable relationships I am apart of are those with the analyst that help me when I was confused during a phone call.
I received about 30-50 phone calls each day, but there were about 5 that really stick out from the entire summer. I think one was a man that I remember actually started as a bad experience. He spoke very angrily and by the end of the phone call he thanked me and said I was helpful and that he didn’t have another experience like the one I gave him with a state agency. It was really rewarding to be able to turn a bad experience into a good one for a caller, especially one who thought the experience would have been a bad one. It was experiences like these that made me want to go to work everyday and help those around me, and that made me want to continue my internship until I graduate this December.
This transformation is significant in my life because I needed it. I needed to help people and I wanted to help people. Those who are Medicare eligible in today’s society are seen many times to my generation as a burden or problem causers. I really wanted to take a situation and make it better. I accepted about 1000 phone calls just this summer and I know each one, even though phone calls didn’t go as planned, was at least treated with respect and given knowledge about their situation that they definitely needed to continue living their lives. This relates to my personal goals because I want to obtain a job helping people, and with the help of STEP I was able to accomplish that.