State's Senior Health Insurance Program moves to Department on Aging
provides seniors & people with disabilities help with insurance
800-548-9034 or visit http://www.state.il.us/aging/
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[April 05, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois
Department on Aging Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., announced this
week that the Senior Health Insurance Program is now administered by
his department. The program known at SHIP is a free statewide health
insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their
caregivers. SHIP was previously under the Department of Insurance,
but the governor signed Executive Order 13-1, which transfers SHIP
to the Department on Aging, effective April 1.
"The Department on Aging is well-positioned to support the expanding
role of SHIP in assisting older adults and individuals with
disabilities make information health care decisions. SHIP counseling
is a natural extension of many of our existing services, so it makes
sense for the program to be under the department," Holton said.
"There are more than 190 existing local SHIP offices statewide, with
dedicated counselors who work hard to educate people about Medicare
and available insurance options."
SHIP is a year-round program,
not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not
sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors in the field
make sure seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are aware
of options that can save them money. Counselors educate and answer
questions about Medicare, Medicare Supplement, long-term care
insurance, Medicare HMOs, private fee-for-service and other health
insurance. They also organize and assist with filing Medicare and
Medicare Supplement claims and analyze Medicare Supplement and
long-term care policies.
"We are excited for SHIP to become a part of the Illinois
Department on Aging," said Elizabeth Diaz-Castillo, SHIP director.
"With the transition we expect to increase our education and
outreach efforts to assist more Medicare beneficiaries understand
and utilize their benefits."
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The state's SHIP program has been recognized for exemplary
performance and outreach strategies. Last year, Illinois ranked No.
1 nationwide for most improved overall SHIP performance and ranked
seventh among the 54 SHIPs nationwide.
The SHIP phone number is 800-548-9034. A list of SHIP volunteers
is available at
The mission of the Illinois Department on Aging is to serve and
advocate for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering
quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote
partnerships and encourage independence, dignity and quality of
life. For more information, call the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966
(or, for the hearing-impaired, TTY 888-206-1327) or visit
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]