People with Medicare often have questions about health insurance, but all too frequently they have limited resources to obtain objective information. Many need information and assistance regarding their decisions in the following areas:
- What kinds of benefits would suit their needs;
- What type of health insurance coverage they should have;
- How much health insurance coverage they should have;
- How to take advantage of the coverage they already have.
Some people with Medicare have problems such as the following:
- They don’t know what to do about rising health insurance premiums;
- They are overwhelmed with claims paperwork, and they don’t know what they owe and what they don’t owe;
- They can’t afford the cost of prescription medications;
- They don’t know where to get help with their health insurance problems and other problems.
To help with these needs, Congress created State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, is a state-based program that offers local one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families. Through CMS funded grants directed to states, SHIPs provide free counseling and assistance via telephone and face-to-face interactive sessions, public education presentations and programs, and media activities.
There is a SHIP in every state as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK) is the SHIP for Kansas.
SHICK educates the public and assists consumers on topics related to Medicare and health insurance so they can make informed decisions.
Two Primary Services Support the SHICK Program’s Mission:
- Information and Education
Consumer education, provided in several ways, reaches a broad section of the population. Consumer education services provide objective information about Medicare A, B, C, & D, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance, prescription drug assistance, receiving Medicare through managed care plans and other insurance-related topics. Consumers receive information through public forums, presentations to organizations and groups, displays, radio, television, and a variety of printed materials.
- One-on-One Counseling
One-on-one confidential sessions with trained counselors focus on specific information or problems. Individual counseling sessions are an effective way to objectively provide information on health insurance coverage, claims assistance, and referrals to appropriate agencies. Individual decision-making and problem-solving are supported at all times.