Each of the 13 Area Agencies on Aging within the State has designated a SHIP Coordinator for their region. This Coordinator recruits and trains volunteers that will in turn provide guidance to senior citizens within their community. This allows them to make sound decisions about their health insurance needs. Both the Coordinator and volunteers counsel individuals or their caregivers on a one-on-one basis via telephone, site visits and home visits.
SHIP Counselors are committed volunteers and many of them face the same issues you do as Medicare Beneficiaries. They are not affiliated with any insurance company and will not attempt to sell you insurance. They will, however, give you the necessary information you need to make informed choices for yourself. All counseling records are personal and confidential.
SHIP Counselors are available for presentations on a variety of health insurance topics.
SHIP is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is administered by the Alabama Department of Senior Services and the Area Agency on Aging.
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is always October 15 – December 7 each year. In general, you can join or change drug plans once a year during this time.
SHIP Counselors provide to the community through Medicare.gov plan finder, counseling based on the medications they are currently taking to ensure they are placed in the best drug or advantage plan available to them.
SHIP does outreach to the low income families in the NACOLG region. Many people are eligible for extra help through the Medicare Savings Program and Social Security Low Income Subsidy. (Please see the charts below).
For additional information call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or the age line 1-800-243-5463. You can visit the website at www.Medicare.gov and view the plan finder for prescription drug coverage.
Click the link below to learn more about the Medicare Savings Program and Low Income Subsidy. You can contact your SHIP Coordinator, Linda Newkirk, at 256-389-0538.
Another program also works simultaneously with SHIP. It is known as the Senior Medicare Patrol or SMP. The purpose of this program is to assist seniors in identifying and reporting suspected Medicare and Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse. Specifically, seniors will learn to recognize incorrect or improper billings, as well as fraudulent or inflated claims. Again, both the coordinator and volunteers work together in educating the public on this matter. Report any suspected fraud and scams to your local Area Agency on Aging by calling 1-800-838-5845 or 256-389-0530.
SHIP Program Director