Attention Medicare Beneficiaries! Are you for SHIP?

July 01, 2016

Recently, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a FY17 funding bill that eliminates the entire funding amount of $52.1 million for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

The Minnesota Board on Aging is very concerned with loss of any SHIP funding as we experience an increase every year in the number of Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries who request assistance with enrolling into Medicare or comparing plans for the next year. In 2015, the Minnesota SHIP (Senior LinkAge Line®) helped 125,180 Minnesotans through 277,324 contacts, including more than 67,371 face to face health insurance counseling visits; a 5% increase from 2014. This trend continues in 2016.

Medicare and health insurance issues are growing more complex every year. Potential changes could complicate things even more. For example, in several years, the Medicare Cost Plans are scheduled to end. This change could affect hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and the need for help to change plans will be unprecedented. Reinstating full SHIP funding is critical to ensure you and other Medicare beneficiaries get the help you need now and in the future to make major Medicare decisions.

A group of Medicare beneficiaries have posted their testimonials about the value of the SHIP program on YouTube. Their channel is “Medicare Beneficiaries for SHIP”.

If you have received help from the SHIP in Minnesota or another state, we encourage you to do the same. Help bring awareness to the importance of the SHIP. Gather together, contact your legislators and make your voice heard to save the SHIPs!

To learn more about how this cut could affect SHIPs, Reuters posted the article “Keep Medicare advice SHIP afloat for U.S. Seniors”.