What Is SHIP and How Can it Help with Your Medicare Questions?

Published 03/21/2024

State Health Insurance Programs, or "SHIP," offer free local insurance counseling to people with Medicare. SHIPs are not connected to any health plan or insurance company, and they are there to provide personalized help. Besides one-on-one assistance by phone, SHIP performs face-to-face counseling and conducts public education presentations. Here are a few of the topics that SHIP volunteers can help you with:

  • Your Medicare rights
  • Complaints about your medical care or treatment
  • Billing problems
  • Plan choices related to the enrollment period

You can find the telephone number for your state’s SHIP office in your “Medicare and You” handbook. You can download and view the most recent version of the handbook on the Medicare.gov website. You can also call Railroad Medicare at 800–833–4455, or for the hearing impaired, call TTY/TDD at 877–566–3572. Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.

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