Save Our SHIPs ~ Tell Congress What One-on-One Counseling Means to You

Save Our SHIPs ~ Tell Congress What One-on-One Counseling Means to You

Thank you to all who have contacted your Congress people, sharing the valuable and essential work of our State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) nationwide. We’ve received both local and national press, including articles in NPR and our own Board President, Tatiana Fassieux interviewed on CBS and NBC news. While local volunteers, staff, and state and national partners have done a great job highlighting and publicizing the important work of our volunteers, some in Congress have erroneously concluded that with so many volunteers doing tens of thousands of hours of free counseling there’s no need for the program! This could not be further from the truth.

SHIPs provide the essential structure that allows our volunteers to do the excellent service they do. Without that structure, we have nothing. Some examples include, the SHIPs:

• Recruit quality and dedicated volunteers,

• Provide the initial 30+ hours of training for new volunteers, giving them the basic foundation to begin counseling others,

• Provide on-going training for the over changing Medicare program,

• Find and maintain public counseling sites throughout the community for volunteers to do their work,

• Schedule the one-on-one counseling appointments for their volunteers,

• Develop local venues for volunteers to do community education presentations and outreach,

• Launch media campaigns to educate the public on Medicare issues and advertise their free services,

• Develop and disseminate current, reliable counseling materials to use with clients, and

• Provide technical information and assistance for tough cases.

Please join us in contacting your Congress people. Urge them to Save our SHIPs and keep one-on-one Medicare counseling and advocacy!

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.