For many Iowans on Medicare and their caretakers, Medicare plans can be confusing. Choosing the wrong plan can lead to your provider no longer being in-network, your prescriptions costing hundreds of dollars more or travel plans ruined due to out-of-state network gaps in your medical coverage.
“Each year it seems there are changes to Medicare, making complicated products and processes even more complex for the consumer,” said Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen. “Fortunately for Iowans, we have more than 350 dedicated SHIIP volunteers across the state trained to help Iowans make informed decisions regarding Medicare plans.”
Last year, Mike Ebaugh provided 315 Winnebago County people with free, unbiased and confidential assistance to find the best Medicare plan for their unique medical needs and prescription drug requirements. The host site for SHIIP counseling is located at Forest City Public Library.
“I personally want to thank Mike Ebaugh and the Forest City Public Library — they are such wonderful SHIIP resources,” said Commissioner Ommen. “We hope we can find additional volunteers to join the team that has saved Iowans hundreds of millions of dollars over the past three decades. Iowa’s peer-to-peer Medicare counseling program started in 1990 and our volunteers are the heart and cornerstone of our program.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Iowa Insurance Division’s SHIIP program and designated Feb. 12 as SHIIP Volunteer Appreciation Day. Joining Commissioner Ommen at the Governor’s proclamation-signing celebration was Kristin Griffith. Griffith became the Iowa SHIIP director March 1, following Kris Gross’ retirement after serving as the program’s director since its inception.
Griffith said, “I look forward to recruiting and working with SHIIP volunteers in communities all around Iowa to help Iowans make informed choices about Medicare and hopefully save them lots of money while doing so. Our SHIIP volunteers also facilitate our Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program to help Iowans prevent, detect and report Medicare fraud — which is a national epidemic, costing more than $50 billion annually.”
Iowans are encouraged to visit SHIIP.Iowa.gov to learn about Medicare, Medicare fraud and volunteer opportunities. Iowans can also call SHIIP and SMP at 1-800-351-4664 (TTY 800-735-2942).