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The SHIP Program

SHIP provides assistance to Medicare beneficiaries or anyone aged 60 years old or older in 30 Central, Northern and Northeastern counties. Our mission is to help individuals make informed decisions about the programs that affect their quality of life, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Medigap insurance and other benefit programs.

    SHIP has 5 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 complex benefit issues
  • Complete applications for benefit programs
  • To educate against fraud, waste and abuse
  • To empower clients to make informed decisions

SHIP staff and volunteers receive extensive training in the various public benefit programs.

    SHIP counselors can help with:
  • Medicare issues, including understanding all 4 parts
  • Applying for money saving programs
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance
  • Medicaid issues
  • Social Security/SSI
  • Energy Assistance
  • SNAP benefit
  • Veterans Administration Benefits
  • Applying for prescription drug assistance programs
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Understanding paperwork from doctors, hospitals and insurance companies

Through funding from the National Council on Aging, SHIP is considered a Benefits Enrollment Center. As such, SHIP is a one stop shop by providing assistance to individuals with resolving benefit issues, as well as helping to apply for money saving benefit programs such as Extra Help; Medicare Savings Programs; SNAP benefits; Medicaid Spend Down; Homestead Exemption; and patient assistance programs through drug manufacturers.

Volunteers are key in this program’s success. SHIP has 7 different volunteer positions that meet different needs and interests. SHIP makes an immediate impact to people’s lives. Although the program currently has 80 volunteers, more are needed as the Medicare population grows. Learn more about volunteering

SHIP services can be received by calling 1-866-516-3051. Services are provided in the following counties: Anderson; Boone; Bourbon; Boyd; Boyle; Campbell; Carroll; Carter; Clark; Elliott; Estill; Fayette; Franklin; Gallatin; Garrard; Grant; Greenup; Harrison; Jessamine; Kenton; Lawrence; Lincoln; Madison; Mercer; Nicholas; Owen; Pendleton; Powell; Scott and Woodford.

  1. To provide legal assistance to individuals to obtain protection, both judicial and non-judicial, temporary and permanent, for individuals who have been subject to domestic violence.
  2. To provide legal assistance to individuals to obtain or retain access to health care.

 


Do you have questions about Medicare? See below for answers to some frequently asked questions and call 1-866-516-3051 to speak with the SHIP representative.

Q: Where is the SHIP Program located?
Q: I’m turning 65, what do I need to do?
Q: I’m a veteran and turning 65. Do I need to enroll into Medicare?
Q: How much will I have to pay for Medicare?
Q: I am a federal retiree and am turning 65. I have coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program. Do I need to enroll in Medicare?

Q: If I am a federal retiree and want to enroll into Medicare can I suspend my FEHB coverage and pick it up later?
Q: I have a FEHB plan and Medicare. Who is the primary payer?

Q: Can I purchase a Medigap supplement policy under the age of 65?
Q: I know that the SHIP program assists in applying for money saving benefits, but can they help me with my yearly benefit recertification?
Q: Will the SHIP Program help pay for my medications or medical bills?
Q: Will the SHIP Program cover all my medical expenses?
Q: Is there a program that can help with cost of my Medicare part B premium?
Q: I’m having trouble paying for my Medicare Part D drug plan premium and my pharmacy bill. Can I get some help?
Q: The premium for Medicare Part B is really high. Do I have to enroll?

Q: Where is the SHIP Program located? A: The SHIP program is a statewide program that is divided by regions. Legal Aid’s SHIP Program covers 30 counties located within Central, Northern and Northeastern Kentucky. We have 4 offices located in Lexington, Morehead, Covington and Ashland, Kentucky.

Q: I’m turning 65, what do I need to do? A: There are many things that you will need to consider when you are turning 65. If you continue to work and you have insurance through your employer, you may not need to enroll into Medicare Part B. If you are no longer working, you will need to consider how you would like to receive your Medicare benefits. During this time, you will have a 7 month period in order to decide what actions you should take. The seven months begins three months prior to your birth month and ends three months after your birth month. It is important for you to speak with a trained benefit counselor through the SHIP Program in order to find out your options.

Q: I’m a veteran and turning 65. Do I need to enroll into Medicare? A: If you are a veteran and are eligible for Medicare it is important to consider enrolling into coverage. Situations often arise that do not allow you to have access to a VA facility. If you do not receive treatment from a VA facility you may be billed for the entire amount of service.

Q: How much will I have to pay for Medicare? A: As long as you worked and paid into Medicare taxes for a total of 10 years, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will be free. If you have never worked or only worked some, you may be responsible for paying a premium if you enroll into Medicare Part A. People who had Medicare prior to January 1, 2016 pays a total of $104.90 per month for Medicare Part B, (medical insurance). If you enroll into Medicare after December 31, 2015, your Medicare Part B premium will be, $121.80 per month. The Part B premium is deducted from your monthly Social Security benefit check.

Q: I am a federal retiree and am turning 65. I have coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program. Do I need to enroll in Medicare? A: Although you are not required to enroll into Medicare you may want to consider it. You may be eligible for premium free Part A. You don’t have to enroll into Part b but if you do not enroll into Part B and decide you want to at a later date you may be penalized for not enrolling when you were first eligible. Many of the federal health plans combined with Medicare would provide almost complete coverage for most of your medical expenses. As for Medicare Part D, you will not need to enroll in a Medicare Prescription Plan if the coverage you have with FEHB is considered creditable coverage. Most of the FEHB plans are considered creditable but you will need to check with the FEHB plan to make sure it is creditable.

Q: If I am a federal retiree and want to enroll into Medicare can I suspend my FEHB coverage and pick it up later? A: You may only suspend your FEHB coverage if you enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan. You must provide documentation to your retirement system that you are suspending your FEHB coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Make sure that you keep copies of all documentation. If you have Medicare Part A and Part B and wish to enroll into a Medicare Advantage Plan you may want to check with your retirement office to discuss the option of suspending your FEHB enrollment. Make sure you are aware of the conditions for picking your FEHB coverage back up.

Q: I have a FEHB plan and Medicare. Who is the primary payer? A: Medicare must pay benefits first if you are an annuitant and either you or your covered spouse has Medicare. Your FEHB plan must pay first when you are an active Federal employee or reemployed annuitant and either you or your spouse has Medicare. (There is an exception if your reemployment position is excluded from FEHB coverage or you are enrolled in Medicare Part B only.)

Q: Can I purchase a Medigap supplement policy under the age of 65? A: If you are under the age of 65 and receiving Medicare through disability, a Medigap policy provider in Kentucky is not mandated to sell you a policy. However, some companies will offer individuals under the age of 65 supplement policies but you will be subject to a medical history screening that will determine premium prices and eligibility.

Q: I know that the SHIP program assists in applying for money saving benefits, but can they help me with my yearly benefit recertification? A: Yes, the SHIP program can assist you in recertifying for your benefits. One of the SHIP programs trained benefits counselors will work with you to ensure all of your documents are updated within the Department for Community Based Services database.

Q: Will the SHIP Program help pay for my medications or medical bills? A: No. Our program does not provide financial support to our clients. We can assist you with finding and applying for Patient Assistance Programs that may be able to assist you with getting your medications at a low or no cost to you. We can also assist you with completing applications for money saving programs, such as help with paying your Medicare Part B and/or drug plan premium, if you meet the qualifications.

Q: Will the SHIP Program cover all my medical expenses? A: Some clients think SHIP is an insurance company. The SHIP program is not affiliated with any insurance company, nor do we sell or endorse any insurance company.

Q: Is there a program that can help with cost of my Medicare part B premium? A: Yes, there are three different Medicare Savings Programs that are available to help with paying the Part B premium. In order to qualify you must meet certain income and resource guidelines. The highest level of help is called QMB. QMB will help pay your part B premium and it will also pay for the Medicare co-pays, co-insurance amounts and deductibles. The other 2 levels, SLMB and QI, will only pay the B premium.

Q: I’m having trouble paying for my Medicare Part D drug plan premium and my pharmacy bill. Can I get some help? A: The Extra Help program is available to help people on Medicare to reduce their drug plan premium and pharmacy bill costs. It saves on average over $4000 per year. Currently thousands of potentially eligible Kentuckians are going without this benefit today. The application process takes less than 15 minutes. To get help with applying for this life changing benefit, contact Legal Aid’s SHIP Program by calling 1-866-516-3051.

Q: The premium for Medicare Part B is really high. Do I have to enroll? A: Medicare Part B is considered a voluntarily enrollment program. This means that you do not have to enroll. However, if you do not have current employer coverage, you may be hit with a penalty for not enrolling when you first became Medicare eligible. To know your options, please speak with a qualified SHIP counselor.