Some might say Elyse Politi is a jack-of-all-trades. She’s seen a lot and lived a lot.
Once one of the only women race car drivers, she pioneered the way for future women drivers and, to this day, drives pace cars. She has also tested the waters of entrepreneurship, both as a dress shop owner and as an owner of a towing company.
Somewhere in all of this, she managed to become a wife and mother to two children.
Given all of her numerous accomplishments, it is difficult to pinpoint the most successful. However, her work as an advocate for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries likely has had the broadest impact over the years.
Politi was recently awarded the 2010 Virginia Elder Rights Award for her "tireless" efforts over the years to assist seniors. Her career with senior rights began in the early nineties and has touched countless lives, shaped legislation, and saved Medicare beneficiaries over $100,000.
Currently, Politi serves as the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) coordinator for the New River Valley Agency on Aging for the Roanoke and Pulaski territories. Tina King, executive director of the New River Valley Agency on Aging, said, “Elyse quickly took our struggling program and worked to substantially increase the number of people served in the VICAP program and the number of trained VICAP volunteers.”
Politi’s career in Medicare advocacy began in northern Virginia. Her duty was to help individuals with the medical claims and billing problems. She began working with other VICAP coordinators to improve regional communication and effectiveness.
In 1998, Politi lead a new program, the Medicare Managed Care Ombudsman Program funded by the Arlington Health Foundation, to help Medicare beneficiaries who had been denied their rights under Medicare managed plans. Through the program, Politi lead numerous workshops, responded to hundreds of requests for information, and handled nearly 200 cases.
Politi testified before Congress in 2008 regarding Medicare marketing plan abuses.
She and her husband moved to Southwest Virginia a few years ago because they loved the region and plan to retire here. Politi remains committed to her advocacy in the NRV. As health care reform pushes forward, Politi’s job will only become increasingly dynamic. “With the recent changes regarding healthcare and Medicare, I anticipate that our office will be swamped with people who need help determining what the changes mean for them,” Politi said.
She is also an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), which embraces the motto "Honor the dead by helping the living."