Get help navigating Medicare from free state counseling programs
The Medicare Open Enrollment period is here. It runs from October 15th to December 7th each year.
Now is the time to figure out which healthcare and prescription drug plans will give your older adult the best coverage at the lowest cost.
Fortunately, state-run counseling programs are available to help with complex Medicare decisions – and it’s a free service.
These government counseling programs are generally called SHIP, which stands for State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs. Anyone can call a SHIP counselor for Medicare advice – even if they’re not currently enrolled.
We explain why getting expert advice before choosing a Medicare plan can save time and money and how to find your local SHIP office.
Save time and money, get expert help with Medicare decisions
Choosing the right Medicare plan is confusing, time-consuming, and headache-inducing.
It may seem like an impossible task to study the available plans, review the drug formularies, and estimate your older adult’s future medical needs.
This is where a SHIP counselor can really help. They’re experts in Medicare and Medicaid so they can save time by guiding to you options that work best for your older adult’s specific needs.
For example, we’ve heard from a California SHIP program manager that she’s often able to save people hundreds or thousands of dollars just by helping them choose a better prescription drug plan.
Program names can differ across states
These programs are generally referred to as SHIP, but because they’re state-run, the names can be different in some states.
Some of the more common program names across U.S. states are: SHIIP, SHINE, SHIBA, or HICAP.
Despite the name differences, the counseling services are the same across all states.
Find a local SHIP counselor
To find a SHIP counselor in your area, visit the National SHIP home page to find your state’s SHIP website and phone number.
Then, call them directly or browse the state website to find a program office near you.
Recommended for you:
- 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment: Minimize Costs, Maximize Coverage
- Medicare vs. Medicaid: What You Need to Know
- Everything You Need to Know About the New Medicare Card: Key Facts and Scams to Avoid
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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