SHIBA works

Thursday, April 6, Todd Dixon and Stella Ng from the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s Office met with twelve volunteer insurance counselors from San Juan and Skagit counties to review SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors) program success and present service awards. Island Hospital, the area program contractor, hosted the breakfast meeting as part of the regular monthly update training session for volunteers.

The six San Juan County-based volunteers had 350 personal counseling contacts during 2016, invested 602 volunteer hours and held eight outreach classes. The program objectives here as throughout the state are:

Review individual Medicare Enrollment timing, and options

Contact those in rural locations and with limited English

Serve the 7% of our state population who are disabled and under 65

Serve those earning under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level

Provide local community outreach education opportunities

Detect and report cases of Medicare fraud or abuse

Washington was rated 13th last year of the 54 similar programs in every state last year. Washington counselors reported 88,000 contacts of the 3.3 million documented nationwide. Like the rest of America, Washington population is aging. Our county, with the oldest average age in Washington, now reports 29% of the population is over 65 years of age versus 14% for the entire state.

SHIBA began near us in Skagit County about 30 years ago the concept has been adopted nationally as SHIP (Statewide Health Insurance Program.)

Free access to your own local, unbiased consultant is available by calling one number 800.562.6900.

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