SHIIP Monthly Column April 2014

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Contact: Kerry Hall 919-807-6011

Volunteers are Essential for SHIIP’s Operation

Did you know that North Carolina has more than 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries? And all those beneficiaries are served by more than 1,000 volunteers and coordinators from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program. That equates to almost 1,500 beneficiaries for every SHIIP volunteer.

Housed within the North Carolina Department of Insurance, SHIIP was established in 1986 to help educate Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers about Medicare, Medicare supplements, long-term care insurance, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and other health insurance options for people with Medicare.

In addition to the program’s professionally-operated call center, SHIIP has a volunteer base of 115 county coordinators and 1,033 volunteers who provide free, unbiased counseling about Medicare in all 100 counties of North Carolina. Without its remarkable and dedicated volunteers, SHIIP could not reach out to all the people using Medicare in our state.

Volunteers for SHIIP must successfully complete a computerized training course to become certified to better help people with Medicare. They are required to attend quarterly follow-up trainings and must provide 40 hours of counseling services annually to maintain their certification. Volunteers are also required to submit reports on each client they assist, and records show they have helped 102,740 Medicare beneficiaries in one-on-one counseling sessions during the past year as well as hosting 1,047 public and media events. This is an outstanding accomplishment.

SHIIP staff is very grateful for the volunteers’ hard work, and we can never thank them enough for all that they do to assist people with Medicare. SHIIP is always looking for new volunteers. Would you like to give back to your community? Do you have computer skills? Are you a people person? Do you have the ability to easily explain things to others? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a great addition to the SHIIP family of volunteers. To learn more about becoming a SHIIP volunteer, call our office today at 1-800-443-9354, or contact the Lenoir County SHIIP coordinating site at Cooperative Extension, 252-527-2191. Let us educate you about Medicare so you can help the citizens of this great state.