Missouri Connections for Health has held the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) grant since 1993, providing free and unbiased advocacy, education, and assistance for Medicare beneficiaries through the work of over 200 trained and certified counselors and 180 community partners.
Every day, more than ten thousand Americans become Medicare eligible. Faced with this growing segment of the population, demand for the services of Missouri SHIP and its nationwide partners has grown from 1.2 million client contacts in 2005 to over 3.4 million contacts in 2014, a 280% increase. Understanding the A, B, C’s and D’s of Medicare is often an overwhelming process. It can also be an isolating experience if seniors and people with disabilities don’t know where to get help. Cognition and information processing becomes more difficult at older ages. Challenges with chronic health conditions and other life changes make it even more difficult, making one-on-one assistance more important.
Our primary goal is to advise, educate, and empower individuals to navigate this increasingly complex program and make choices that best meet their needs. Missouri SHIP provides assistance with Medicare enrollment, resolving billing issues, assistance with selecting prescription drug plans, and Advantage plans, including Medigap and Supplemental plans. In addition, we provide assistance with appeals and grievances, suspected waste and fraud, education on wellness and preventive services, and programs to save consumers money.