Medicare and SHIP
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment runs from January 1 to March 31. Current Medicare Advantage enrollees can change to a different Advantage plan or drop their plan and switch to Original Medicare. A SHIP counselor can help you review your options to find the plan that works best for you.
Whether you are new to Medicare or not, Medicare and Social Security can be confusing. Oswegoland Senior and Community Center’s certified SHIP counselors can help you navigate Medicare, Medicare Advantage and other benefit programs.
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. The State Health Insurance Assistance Programs provide local, in-depth, and objective insurance counseling and assistance. SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company. SHIP counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance.
SHIP counselors are trained to:
* Educate consumers and answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare HMOs, private fee-for-service and other health insurance.
* Organize and assist in filing Medicare and Medicare Supplement claims; Analyze Supplement policies.
The SHIP program’s in-person help can prove essential for understanding the complexities of Medicare and making good choices. For others, SHIP education helped them save on their health care costs. Here are additional thoughts that might be troubling you:
* Considering making coverage changes during Medicare’s Open Enrollment? SHIP counselor can provide one-on-one assistance with reviewing health or prescription drug plan options.
* Worried about the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare? A SHIP counselor can help you find out about eligible assistance programs.
* Unsure about Medicare’s eligibility criteria? A SHIP counselor can help you understand guidelines.
* Wondering what Medicare does and doesn’t cover? SHIP counselors have answers.
* Confused about who pays first, Medicare or another insurance? A SHIP counselor can explain how Medicare works with supplemental policies, retiree coverage, Medicaid, and other Insurers.
* Uncertain of your rights under Medicare? SHIP Counselors can provide assistance.
Medicare Savings Program:
There are three levels of help through the Medicare Savings Program administered through Medicaid, Illinois Department of Health and Human Services. Apply here: https://abe.illinois.gov or go to the Department of Health and Human Services Local Office (DHS): 361 Old Indian Trail, Aurora; 630-844-7400
Full Medicaid (AABD) is available for people age 65 and older. Sometimes if individuals are over the income limits, they are put on a Spenddown program, which is like a deductible that they have to meet monthly before Medicaid kicks in.
Apply here: https://abe.illinois.gov or go to DHS Local Office: 361 Old Indian Trail, Aurora; 630-844-7400
Social Security: Apply online for Social Security Retirement and Medicare, Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security, Extra Help for Medicare Part D: https://www.ssa.gov/
Local Social Security Office
325 N Lake St.
Aurora, IL 60506
Extra Help (Prescription Drugs):
Extra Help, also known as Low Income Subsidy (LIS), through Social Security is a benefit program that helps Medicare Beneficiaries with prescription drug plan premiums, co-pays and annual deductibles. To qualify: Your resources must be limited to $15,510 as an individual or $30,950 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count your home, car, or any life insurance policy as resources; and your annual income must be limited to $20,385 for an individual or $27,465 for a married couple living together. Apply online here: https://www.ssa.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp/
Social Security Local Office: 1325 N Lake St, Aurora; 1-800-772-1213
Medicaid: Apply online for SNAP, Medicare Savings, full Medicaid, cash assistance: www.hfs.illinois.gov
You may qualify for a benefit called “Extra Help” that gives you a discount on your medications and plans that have a $0 monthly premium would be available to you. “Extra Help” is a program offered by Social Security and there is more than one way that you can qualify. A Senior Health Insurance counselor can help you apply for the “Extra Help” program.