Bonnie Burns, policy specialist, California Health Advocates
Why she's a hero: Her 1980s congressional testimony exposed the abusive marketing of Medicare supplemental insurance (one woman had been sold 39 different policies) and contributed to today's standardized Medigap policies. Burns, 70, also enlisted volunteers to help California seniors navigate Medicare's confusing reimbursement -- a forerunner of a thriving national program known as Senior Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIIP.
Her current passion: As a two-decade consumer rep at an association of state insurance officials, Burns fights to protect buyers of long-term-care insurance from churning and other exploitative practices.
Quote: "I saw hundreds of people who were sold all of these supplemental Medicare insurance policies because they didn't know any better and they trusted the person selling them. That stirred my sense of right and wrong."
When lives were disrupted by flood or fire, these MONEY heroes jumped in to help rescue their neighbors' finances.