Diane Faligowski is always working. As the owner of the full-service health insurance agency Health Plans in Oregon, she receives over a hundred phone calls every day of the week. The majority come from referring clinics, carriers, community partners such as Project Access NOW, and her low-income clients whom she and her agents enroll in the Marketplace, Medicare, and other insurance plans.
“Health Plans in Oregon is an important partner of Project Access NOW,” says Linda Nilsen, our executive director. “We work together with a shared commitment to ensuring everyone has health insurance and access to health care.”
Diane’s agency serves people of all demographics and income levels, But, she says, “we focus on those less fortunate.”
Particularly during open enrollment, Diane and her agents fan out to homeless shelters, including Portland Mission and Union Gospel, and staff enrollment events organized by community partners like Multnomah County and Project Access NOW.
Health Plans in Oregon offers and enrolls people in the option that fits their needs, budget and lifestyle. They also help clients navigate the system, be it with specialty referrals or providing them with updates on any changes in their insurance.
Diane praises the working relationship with Project Access NOW. She says, “I am a big supporter of Project Access NOW, we serve the same people, with the same challenges. Specifically, we make it easier for the Outreach, Enrollment, and Access program staff to enroll new immigrants because as agents we can process things faster.”
Linda concurs. “Diane and her team are great to work with, they assist in complicated cases where an insurance agent is required, and they offer training to our staff. They’re always there for us and our clients, always willing to help and complement and enhance the work we do.”
In addition to public events or ‘office hours’ at community clinics like the Old Town Clinic, Diane also does home visits whenever a client needs it. She says a lot of her work entails educating clients about how the health care system works and qualifying them to any financial assistance available, often to the surprise of those who try to figure it out themselves, not knowing help is available.
A licensed insurance agent since 2006, Diane started her company—and the relationship with Project Access NOW—in 2014 to address the needs created by the Affordable Care Act. “We’re one of the few, if not the only, insurance agents who focus on low-income people,” Diane says. “They’re neglected and need all the help they can get.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Diane adopted her values from her parents who worked long hours in their business. “My parents instilled in all of us”—Diane is the youngest of ten children—“that we have to help those in need in whatever way we can.”
Diane prides herself in the service her agency provides: it’s fast, thorough (“every call gets answered or returned”), and focused on the needs of customer, no matter their circumstances.
“I believe in making a difference in my community and helping the helpless access health care—it’s what Health Plans in Oregon does and it’s what Project Access NOW does,” Diane says. “This is my life’s work.”