Medicare Advantage helps couple navigate medical emergency away from home

Finding support during a health crisis

Rich Reed and Laura Noonan were newly retired and ready to travel. They wanted to find a Medicare plan that gave them coverage, even when away from home.

They said choosing a Medicare Advantage plan from UnitedHealthcare eliminated a lot of stress as they traveled across the country, including stops in South Dakota, Utah and more. Altogether, they have visited 49 of the 50 states.

They didn’t realize just how much they’d appreciate that coverage until they were in a remote area of California in the Mojave Desert. It was here when Rich suffered an aortic dissection – a tear in the wall of the artery carrying blood out of the heart.

“I’m still to this day not really aware of everything that happened, with how close to death I was,” Rich said. “I’m a lucky boy.”

He was airlifted to Las Vegas and was in the hospital for 30 days, followed by a yearlong full recovery.

“As doctors said to Rich,” Laura said, “‘For every one of you there are nine that didn’t make it.’”

A UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage advocate helped the couple coordinate coverage and benefits when they were in an unfamiliar place. The experience made Laura thankful for the personal, compassionate assistance the UnitedHealthcare advocate provided — and to know they’d have help for Rich’s full recovery.

“I was overwhelmed,” Laura said. “I was determined to find the best care for my husband. I was fighting for him. I got a call from that UnitedHealthcare advocate and she took up the fight. It was extremely personal. I felt that this advocate just understood my situation, she just figured it out.”

UnitedHealthcare offers access to Medicare Advantage’s largest provider network, which reaches nearly 98% of individuals eligible for Medicare in UnitedHealthcare’s coverage area.1

Members in plans that have access to the UnitedHealthcare Medicare National Network can see any of more than 1 million network providers, whether in their neighborhood or on the road.

“When we started with UnitedHealthcare, we had better coverage, broader coverage,” Laura said. “If we went to South Dakota, if we went to Utah, I wanted something that would have coverage in any state that we were going to.”

After Rich’s full recovery, the couple plans to travel again — including to Alaska, the last of their 50 states to visit together. With many more adventures in store for them, they said they are grateful for the access to care and support offered by a Medicare Advantage plan from UnitedHealthcare.

“It’s so amazing to have him,” Laura said. “When I look at him now, he looks great.”

Visit this link for more information about UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans.

Sign up to get the latest news from the UnitedHealthcare Newsroom