In November 2015, when Brent Eminger first visited the Brightpoint office in Kendallville, he was at a low point. The plant where he had worked for over 40 years closed and he had lost his job, and with it, his insurance. He was 60-years-old and didn’t have many options for employment. He found another job, but the insurance didn’t kick in for 90 days and he wasn’t sure he could make it that long.
Brightpoint employee Bridgette Deyo was only a month into her job when Brent came into the office. She helped Brent and his wife apply for the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) – the state-sponsored health coverage for adults. Brent’s application was initially denied and Bridgette knew from her training that this was incorrect so she advocated on his behalf to have his application reprocessed.
Bridgette could see that Brent wasn’t well, but she didn’t know just how bad he was at first. On a later visit, he told her what was troubling him. Brent had cancer once before- almost 20 years ago and he was pretty sure it was back, but he didn’t want to go to the doctor for fear of how much it would cost.
Bridgette decided then and there she was going to do everything she could to help. She remembered thinking, “I have to fight for him because this is a life or death matter.” She encouraged Brent to go immediately to seek medial help and ask for temporary coverage called “presumptive eligibility.”
After suffering for so long, Brent couldn’t take the pain any longer. So he took Bridgette’s advice and went to the hospital. The cancer had come back and was causing other complications which required surgery and chemotherapy right away.
Brent got the medical care he needed to get healthy again. In January 2016, with Bridgette’s assistance, he was approved for HIP. Brent transitioned from the presumptive eligibility to the HIP Plus with no gaps, covering all of the medical expenses that he accumulated while fighting his illness.
At his lowest point, Brent felt like he didn’t have anything left to give and that he was a burden to his wife. “I thought I was going to lose everything I had – that’s why I had suicidal thoughts,” admitted Brent with tears in his eyes.
When Bridgette saw Brent again after he had been hospitalized and was on the road to recovery, she said he looked like a different person. Brent said he felt like he had gotten his life back. And Bridgette’s life changed, too. Working with Brent gave her a sense of purpose in her new job. “He helped me to know how important it is what we do.”