In response to our President & CEO's letter of support of the CHOICES program, Senator Chris Murphy responded by letter stating:
"Please know I am a strong supporter of the important work SHIPs do in our communities, including CHOICES in Connecticut, and I share your concern that the Senate Appropriations Committee eliminated funding for SHIPs for Fiscal Year 2017. As the budget process moves forward, I will continue to look for ways to restore funding for SHIPs, as they are an invaluable resource to seniors and persons with disabilities in Connecticut."
SHIP, known as CHOICES in CT, provides a network of free, unbiased, reliable, and personalized health benefits information. CHOICES counselors help beneficiaries sort through the more than 20 prescription drug plans, 25 Medicare Advantage plans, as well as 15 Medigap Supplemental plans so that they make informed decisions about which options are right for them. CHOICES also provides health insurance counseling, outreach, education and enrollment in low-income benefit programs.
June: The Senate recently passed a bill that would eliminate all funding for this national program serving the 7 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.
July 7, 2016 - The U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved a bill that would provide funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at the current level of $52.1 million, a measure applauded by the Medicare Rights Center. Read more.
- The program had over 32,700 client contacts.
- Certified CHOICES counselors gave over 51,000 hours to serve beneficiaries. Counselor time is valued over $1,176,570.
- CHOICES counselors are not only located in the five agencies on aging in Connecticut, but agency on aging staff train volunteers, who are then certified to provide this service. These volunteers are located in senior housing, municipal agencies and community locations throughout CT.
- Over 25,700 beneficiaries were provided eligibility assistance for programs that reduced out-of-pocket costs.
- Federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services refer beneficiaries to SHIP. In CT, 41% client contacts were referred from federal, state, and local partners.