When someone with Medicare finds his or her way to my office phone, it’s often because of a complicated and snarly issue that’s going to take time to fix.
However, it’s also sometimes a Medicare beneficiary who found my number somewhere and called for some basic help in understanding their coverage. I love those calls because I have a quick and easy answer for folks like that.
I refer them to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. There’s a SHIP in every state in the country. I have phone numbers for the ones in my Medicare region written on a card right next to my phone, and I refer to it often.
SHIPs are nonprofit organizations that help people with Medicare to better understand their benefits. The counseling is personalized and it’s absolutely free.
SHIPs are not connected to any insurance company or health plan, so they’re not trying to sell you any kind of product. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you’re eligible for assistance from your local SHIP. You can talk to a SHIP counselor over the phone or go to your local SHIP office for face-to-face assistance.
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