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Senior Health Insurance Counseling Service Available at Morris Hospital

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – A volunteer counselor from the Senior Health Insurance Program is available at Morris Hospital by appointment to provide free health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

A program of the Illinois Department of Aging, SHIP counselors are volunteers trained to educate consumers and answer questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, long-term care insurance and Advantage plans, according to a news release from the hospital.

SHIP counselors also can help analyze policies. SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and the counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. Morris Hospital serves as the sponsor for the three local SHIP volunteers.

The open enrollment period is Tuesday to Dec. 7 for seniors and disabled persons who have a Medicare Drug Plan.

The open enrollment period provides an opportunity to change plans without penalty, according to the news release.

“There are several reasons people may want to change their Medicare plan,” Dick Sefton, coordinator of the Morris Hospital based SHIP Program, said in the news release.

“Maybe the current plan is going to be more expensive than another plan in 2014, or the existing plan will no longer cover certain medications next year. Sometimes people are not satisfied with the level of service provided with their existing plan, or they want a plan that offers mail order. There are all kinds of options to consider.

“Medicare coverage and all the available options are somewhat complicated,” he added. “We’re here to help people make educated decisions with regards to the various drug and supplemental programs that are available to seniors and disabled persons.”

Individuals interested in meeting with a SHIP counselor should call 815-705-1063. Leave a message and someone will call you back to schedule an appointment.

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