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Legal Aid of the Bluegrass Serves as Benefits Enrollment Center

Did you know that Legal Aid of the Bluegrass’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) Program provides support to people who are aged 60+ and disabled individuals receiving Medicare benefits in 30 Central, Northern and Northeastern counties? The program has four goals:

to educate individuals on the benefit programs that affect their lives through one-on-one counseling sessions and outreach activities;

to assist with resolving benefit issues;

to complete applications for benefit programs; and

to empower clients to make informed decisions.

SHIP is a Benefits Enrollment Center through funding from the National Council on Aging. This means staff are responsible for assisting clients with applying for benefit programs such as Extra Help; Medicare Savings Programs; SNAP benefits; Medicaid Spend Down; Homestead Exemption; and patient assistance programs through drug manufacturers. Although it is extremely important for all individuals receiving Medicare to be screened for these benefits, the Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs are two that can greatly impact the lives of low income and other vulnerable clients. Extra Help assists individuals with purchasing a Medicare Part D drug plan and can significantly reduce medication costs. The estimated value of this benefit is $4000/yr. The Medicare Savings Programs provide assistance in paying the Medicare Part B premium and could include additional medical insurance that fills in the gaps to Medicare. Furthermore, SHIP staff can provide guidance on more complex benefit issues where an individual may have been denied or their benefit(s) stripped. This allows LABG attorneys to focus on other pressing legal matters.

In 2015, SHIP staff and volunteers opened almost 3,000 cases and completed nearly 1,300 benefit applications with a potential savings of $2,653,744. Also, staff conducted over 220 outreach activities reaching over 93,000 and this does not include its reach through TV and radio interviews or public service announcements.

We encourage you to refer clients who could benefit from the SHIP Program and its team of dedicated specialists. Call 1-866-516-3051 today.