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Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) locally very effective

Veterans Memorial Hospital is an official sponsor for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), a service of the State of Iowa Insurance Division. SHIIP provides free-of-charge counseling and information to people with questions about Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, long term care insurance, and claims filings. SHIIP can help solve problems like these:

• An Iowa woman held three long-term care policies, two Medicare supplement policies and five other health insurance policies of limited coverage. SHIIP reviewed the policies, pointing out duplication. As a result, she canceled several policies and saved $4,431 in insurance premiums annually.

• A northeast Iowa senior had 160 envelopes containing medical bills, Medicare statements and insurance statements. A SHIIP volunteer spent 26.5 hours sorting through the papers, organizing, and explaining to the client the status of each claim.

These cases and many like them cost Iowans money each year. “SHIIP has a great track record for saving Iowans money and headaches,” said Kris Gross, director of the program with the State of Iowa’s Insurance Division. “In 2001, the program saved more than $507,000 for our clients. It’s an important service and we’re pleased to have Veterans Memorial Hospital join us in offering free, unbiased help to seniors with health insurance questions.”

The SHIIP volunteers for Allamakee County include  Russ Hagen of Waterville and Stan and Mary Straate of Postville. All three are trained volunteers, and are available by appointment to meet with any person or family with Medicare questions and concerns. Anyone wishing to schedule an appointment should call Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.

The State of Iowa created SHIIP in 1990, in response to the statewide need for senior health insurance information. SHIIP provides free informational materials as well as one-to-one assistance with Medicare coverage, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance, Medicare and insurance claims and other related issues. SHIIP does not recommend insurance companies, plans or agents; the volunteers, trained by the State of Iowa Insurance Division, answer questions and provide impartial information to help seniors make well-informed decisions.

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