Along with a Medicare ombudsman, a Medicare insurance agent, or Medicareful Living (of course), a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is one of the best places to learn about Medicare coverage. Most importantly, these services are often free of charge! But how exactly do they provide assistance?
How Can a SHIP Help Me?
SHIPs are designed to help seniors and their families receive counseling and understand their coverage. In this sense, they operate similarly to an ombudsman. They may even assist in the appeals process. State programs recruit volunteers, many of whom become counselors that provide services to seniors. Many state programs will host workshops and group presentations like Medicare Mondays to help keep seniors informed.
SHIPs are designed to help seniors and their families receive counseling and understand their coverage.
Individually, programs focus on education, advocacy, and facilitating coverage. Each state is different, but generally, the SHIP counselor will assist you in understanding the ins and outs of Original Medicare. Counselors are also available to explain Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D plans so you can make informed decisions when picking.
Another important Medicare function of the program is facilitating the affordability of your enrollment. If you’re struggling to find affordable health insurance options, SHIP counselors can help you look through your options to find a program that’s right for you. Among these programs are Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program, or low-income subsidies. The aid given by these programs is especially beneficial for seniors since it’s free. While they’re independent programs, they’re funded by several federal agencies.
If you’re struggling to find affordable health insurance options, SHIP counselors can help you look through your options to find a program that’s right for you. Among these programs are Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program, or low-income subsidies.
A State Health Insurance Assistance Program isn’t limited to Medicare, though. A counselor is also versed in long-term care. This allows them to help you understand the important facets of this ancillary insurance.
The History of State Health Insurance Assistance Program
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs were created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. This bill gave the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) the ability to create and support state-wide and local programs to assist Medicare enrollees.
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs were created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990.
SHIPs were given a degree of freedom to define what this support this entailed. One major push of SHIPs came with the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003, which created Medicare drug plans. Since then, a focus has been on Part D plans and helping seniors find affordable coverage options.
How Can I Contact a SHIP?
Luckily, it’s easy to get in touch with your state’s SHIP through online resources. The best place to start is the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center, where you can select your state and find its website and contact information. Medicare.gov also has a Contact Information search that’ll help you find that information. All you do is select your state and the type of organization you’re looking for. There are also other SHIP search resources online that can help you find your local program.
The best place to start a search for your SHIP is the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center, where you can select your state and find its website and contact information.
Medicare can be a confusing subject. It’s why there are so many resources to help beneficiaries and their families. If you need more help than online research can provide, though, it can be tough to know where to turn. If you don’t want to talk to an agent or the ombudsman, but you’re still curious, SHIP can help. With a quick phone call, they can confidentially answer your questions or concerns for free.