Health Insurance & Medicare Counseling​​

Each of the five Area Agencies on Aging offices have certified State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) staff who provide counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and those about to become eligible for Medicare, including:

  • Information about eligibility and enrollment in all parts of Medicare: A, B, C and D
  • Open enrollment and assistance selecting a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Options for Medicare coverage, including Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
  • Enrollment and eligibility for programs that help pay Medicare’s costs
  • Enrollment and eligibility in other health care programs, including Medicaid and VPharm
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance

SHIP staff also provide outreach and Medicare classes statewide to explain Medicare and how it works.

If you are about to turn 65 and need help to apply for Medicare, call your local Area Agency on Aging to ask to speak to a SHIP Coordinator at 1-800-642-5119. 
If you suspect Medicare fraud, errors, or abuse, address it immediately!

Call your local Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-642-5119 and ask to speak with SHIP staff.

Contact local law enforcement.

Call 1-800-Medicare

Report directly to the OIG Hotline:  [email protected].

  What is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance for people who are 65 or older, under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a certain amount of time, and those with two specific diseases: End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency that runs Medicare. Once you’ve become Medicare-eligible, you can enroll in Original Medicare, the traditional program offered directly through the federal government, or choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, a type of private insurance offered by companies that contract with Medicare.

What does Medicare cover?

Original Medicare consists of:
Part A-Hospital insurance
Part B-Medical/physician insurance
Part D-Prescription drug coverage
Medicare Advantage is sometimes called Part C.
It is important to understand your Medicare coverage choices and to pick your coverage carefully. How you choose to get your benefits and who you get them from can affect your out-of-pocket costs and where you can get your care.
Things to remember about Medicare

  • There are strict rules about when you can enroll and when you can change your coverage
  • There are financial penalties if you do not enroll when you are first able to enroll unless you are allowed to have a Special Enrollment Period
  • If you already have insurance through a current or former employer, it can affect when you can or should enroll in Medicare
  • There are programs to help cover some of the costs that Medicare does not cover
Where can I get help with Medicare?

Call the HelpLine at 800-642-5119.  You will be directed to the Area Agency on Aging in your area.  Ask to speak to a SHIP counselor who can help you with your Medicare questions.