Councilwoman’s ‘sweet spot’ is helping seniors with health care
Baby boomers have heard the comment all their lives and now they’re saying it too. “Retirement gets here before you know it.” And with that comes a slew of changes in income, health care and most every other category that matters.
It can be difficult and sometimes seniors say they have to choose between whether they will eat or be able to pay for their health care and medicine. Medicare Advantage insurer Clover Health hopes to alleviate that pressure by offering highly affordable health plans with benefits, such as stipends for over-the-counter items like vitamins and groceries for members who qualify.
“Our mission at Clover is to improve every life, and that starts with making quality healthcare more accessible to seniors, particularly those who’ve previously lacked that access,” said Carm Gumbs, head of community engagement for Clover Health. “It warms my heart to be able to help people get quality health care without them having to pay a high premium to get that service. Some seniors in the metro area get locked into deciding between food, healthcare or housing simply because they can’t afford it. Our hope is to remedy that as much as we can so our members don’t have to make that unpalatable choice...Working for a company that’s willing to go above and beyond to provide rich benefits to seniors lets me know I’m doing the right work.”
Her work is simply an extension of Gumbs’ passion to help others.
The City of South Fulton District 2 councilwoman grew up in a family that valued helping others.“My mother was a nurse, so health care has always been at the top of my mind,” Gumbs said. “I remember people coming to our house, knocking on our door and asking my mother to take care of them because they couldn’t afford to go to the hospital.” Gumbs said she also comes from a family with a lot of seniors who are underserved, which has long been a huge concern for her. A native of Virginia, Gumbs graduated from Norfolk State University and went to graduate school at Strayer University in Richmond. She got her degree in social work and became a social worker for the City of Richmond. Gumbs left there to work with a different health care company, which transferred her to Atlanta in 2008. After some time, she heard about Clover Health needing a community engagement and outreach person and joined the company in June of last year.
“I felt like I could contribute to their growth in the market and Southeast,” Gumbs said. “They liked me and I liked them. The rest is history.” Meanwhile, Gumbs stays in touch with family, including her mother Nancy Gumbs, who is now a retired nurse and still lives in Virginia. She also stays busy working in her district and serving on the South Fulton Council. She has developed relationships through the years with senior organizations in the area and is often asked to be a guest speaker at their events.
“A lot of people reach out to me for advice,” Gumbs said regarding her work with the health care industry. “I do get a lot of people reaching out and I will be honest about what works and what doesn’t for a person.” With her expertise and networking, Gumbs said people sometimes call her “the connector.” She said it all “meshes well” and that she “has never met a stranger.” Gumbs said she loves talking to people and connecting them to what they need, which she says gives her great satisfaction.
“I think everyday I wake up and pray that I at least touch one person,” Gumbs said. “I want to be able to impact lives and I think I can do that through Clover. It allows me to do that every single day.”
In addition to her job and political position, Gumbs is active in many other ways as well, including her sorority chapter and her church where she helps with food drives and helps make sure seniors are taken care of during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also has a family with husband, Michael Martin, who works as a vice president for Bank of America and daughter Kerrington, a 19-year-old student at Spelman College in Atlanta. Gumbs enjoys relaxing with her two dogs, a Shih Tzu named Maxine and a six-month-old French Bulldog named Kash.
Gumbs encourages seniors to decide what they want in a Medicare Advantage plan, then visit the Clover Health website to see what makes its Medicare Advantage plans different. For more information, visit www.cloverhealth.com. “They hired me and I’ve been serving in the community using my social work background,” Gumbs said. “To drive change, create opportunities and especially with seniors—that’s my sweet spot. That’s what I do.”