On Thursday, April 6, Todd Dixon and Stella Ng from the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s Office met with 12 volunteer insurance counselors from San Juan and Skagit Counties to review the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors’ success and present service awards. Island Hospital hosted the breakfast meeting as part of the regular monthly update training session for volunteers.
The six San Juan County-based volunteers had 350 personal counseling contacts during 2016, invested 602 volunteer hours and held eight outreach classes. The program objectives here, as in the state, are:
• Review individual Medicare Enrollment timing, and options.
• Contact those in rural locations and with limited English.
• Serve the 7 percent of the state population who are disabled and under 65.
• Serve those earning under 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
• Provide local community outreach education opportunities.
• Detect and report cases of Medicare fraud or abuse.
Last year, Washington was rated 13th of the 54 similar programs throughout the country. Counselors reported 88,000 contacts of the 3.3 million documented nationwide. Like the rest of America, Washington population is aging. San Juan County, with the oldest average age in Washington, now reports 29 percent over 65 versus 14 percent for the entire state. While SHIBA began in Skagit County about 30 years ago, the concept has been adopted nationally as the Statewide Health Insurance Program.
Call 1-800-562-6900 for free local consultations.