County government personnel in the Panhandle are on a first-name basis with TAC Employee Benefits Specialist Melissa Lopez. She's been supporting TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool (TAC HEBP) members in the northwest region of the state since 2007, and she's the day-to-day contact for eligibility, enrollment, claims and billing questions.
"Melissa's definitely the go-to person for our member counties," shared Quincy Quinlan, Director of Health and Benefits Services. "Our competitive advantage lies in the sheer number of our members but also the superior customer service we provide. You're never just an account number when you call Melissa for assistance with your county's benefits."
She's also been a go-to for the team, freely sharing her institutional knowledge and expertise to help newer teammates succeed.
Lopez joined TAC in 2004, working part time in the Records Department. She became a full-time records analyst in 2005 before joining TAC HEBP. She shared more about herself and why she enjoys working at TAC.
As an Employee Benefits Specialist, what are your responsibilities?
I handle the day-to-day customer service needs of our members in the northwest territory of the state. This can include anything from helping them with benefit questions to investigating and resolving employee benefits claims issues. All of the employee benefits specialists tailor their customer service approach to the needs of their customers. I spend a lot of time on the phone, and that's a fairly unique feature of this region. I've enjoyed getting to know our members — we've been working together a long time.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the TAC culture. We care for each other like family, and that care extends to our members, too. I've had two of my three children while working at TAC, and now those two kids are 15 and 9. (The oldest one is 22.) When I talk to my groups, they ask me how my family is, how my kids are doing. And I ask the same about them. It's personal; it's more than a job.
"I love the TAC Culure. We care for each other like family, and that care extends to our members, too."
Melissa Lopez, Employee Benefits Specialists
How else would you describe the work?
It's challenging, and that's part of what has kept me happy at TAC for 17 years. Staying on top of the many rules and regulations that surround health insurance and the health care industry is a nonstop process. There's something new to learn every day. For example, earlier in my career at TAC I had the opportunity to administer our supplemental retirement benefits for members statewide. I was constantly reading the Medicare regulations to help solve issues for our members. That may sound downright painful to some, but I loved the constant learning that experience provided. Increasing my knowledge and expertise allows me to provide good customer service to members and to be a good teammate to the rest of the department.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I am actively involved in and volunteer at my church. My daughter is an athlete and plays several sports at school, and I am the booster club president (really, all I do is sell concessions). Before the pandemic, we played volleyball weekly as a family with some of our friends. We’re looking forward to resuming that activity when our local park opens again.