NJ Human Services Awards Grant to Boost SHIP Program in Burlington County Ahead of Medicare Enrollment Period

NJ Human Services Awards Grant to Boost SHIP Program in Burlington County Ahead of Medicare Enrollment Period

September 14, 2022

(TENTON)With the open enrollment period for Medicare 2023 set to begin Oct. 15, Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced today that Senior Citizens United Community Services, Inc. (SCUCS) will coordinate the assistance program for state health insurance (SHIP) in Burlington County.

SHIP is a federally funded, state-administered program that provides free one-on-one training and assistance to current and eligible Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers regarding Medicare and other related health insurance programs through the through SHIP counselors trained and certified by the Ministry’s Division of Aging Services.

With SCUCS serving in Burlington County, all 21 counties now have SHIP coordinators. For a list of local SHIP offices with contact details, click here.

“Medicare’s annual enrollment period runs from October 15 through December 7. This is when people can sign up for a plan, switch to a new plan, or leave a plan. We encourage current or eligible Medicare beneficiaries in Burlington County and throughout New Jersey who have questions about their benefits or health coverage options to contact their local SHIP office and take advantage of this free assistance,” said Commissioner Adelman.

“SHIP advisors are available five days a week to answer questions free of charge. They provide information and assistance so that individuals can make informed decisions about what is best for them. Anyone needing help with this upcoming Medicare enrollment period should call their local SHIP office,” said Assistant Commissioner for Aging and Disability Services Kaylee McGuire.

“SHIP counselors can help senior residents navigate the complexities of Medicare and educate them about federal and state programs that help cover health and drug costs. We are pleased that Burlington County residents now have a local office they can call for assistance with their health insurance questions. If someone offers to help you for a fee, be aware that free assistance is available near you from an official SHIP counsellor,” said Louise Rush, Director of the Aging Services Division.

The Department awarded a competitive grant of $40,000 to SCUCS to coordinate the SHIP program in Burlington County between September 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023.

The agency will be the primary point of contact for current and eligible Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers in Burlington County who have questions about Medicare.

SHIP counselors are either volunteers or professional-level staff members. There are 425 people in New Jersey whom the Division of Aging Services has certified as SHIP counselors. In Burlington County, the SCUCS roster currently includes ten counselors, all of whom are volunteers.

The agency will have a designated County SHIP Coordinator, who will be responsible for administering the program, managing existing SHIP counselors, receiving and assigning referrals, promoting the program, and writing and submitting quarterly reports to the Department.

The agency shall conduct community outreach activities to promote SHIP services to Medicare beneficiaries of all ages throughout the county through agency partnerships and other available channels; and host a Medicare education and enrollment event this year to help beneficiaries and caregivers during the 2023 Medicare Annual Election Period.

In addition to Medicare, open enrollment for state exchange, employer-sponsored plans, and Medicaid begins Nov. 1. Visit GetCovered.NJ.gov for more information.

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