State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

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What is SHIP? The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a FREE, counseling program for individuals receiving Medicare benefits and their family members or caregivers. SHIP counselors can help you make an informed, impartial decision about your health insurance.

Counselors are available to answer questions such as:

• Who is eligible for Medicare coverage and how to enroll?
• What services are covered under Part A and Part B?
• What is my copay for Medicare covered services?
• Does Medicare cover dental expenses?
• Do I need Part D?
• Will Medicare pay for a second opinion?
• Who pays first if I have other health insurance?
• How can I submit an appeal if my service is denied?

Prescription Drugs

State and Federal programs exist to assist with prescription drug costs for persons with prescription insurance or for those who have coverage under Medicare Part D.

Eligibility for assistance with prescription and/or medical expenses is determined by set income and asset guidelines.

SHIP counselors can help you determine which program you may qualify for and assist you with the application process.

Medigap Policies

Medigap policies are supplemental insurance policies that pay a portion of Medicare expenses not covered under the traditional Medicare plan. SHIP counselors can help you compare the many plan options offered by these private insurance companies and choose the Medigap policies that best meet your needs.

Assistance with Payment of Medicare Premiums

Medicare beneficiaries who meet income and asset guidelines may receive assistance with the payment of their Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance under the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program. Individuals with slightly higher incomes may be eligible to have their Medicare Part B premiums paid under the Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program. Applications are available at all senior activity centers.

Appointments are available at each senior activity center by calling 301-475-4200, ext. *1064 or e-mail

Helpful websites:
Medicare Information
Social Security Extra Help  – 
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Information
Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program
Health Care Exchanges  – 
Maryland Insurance Administration

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