March 23, 2017
One of the key agencies the Ombudsman Program works with, and often refers individuals to, is the West Virginia State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) which is a program of the WV Bureau of Senior Services. It is housed at the Bureau’s main office in Charleston and in many county senior centers throughout WV. SHIP is a federally funded program which “provides free, objective and confidential help to West Virginia Medicare beneficiaries.” SHIP counselors provide information about:
- Medicare eligibility and benefits,
- Medicare prescription drug plan and Medicare savings plans,
- Medigap (Medicare supplemental plans),
- Medicare Advantage plans,
- Long-term care insurance plans,
- Durable medical equipment suppliers,
- Preventive services,
- Nursing home and home health care provider comparisons,
- Medicare fraud,
- How to order a new Medicare card, and
- How to find a doctor.
Their website is very informative and includes Medicare Supplement Plans and Monthly Rate comparisons which are updated regularly, Medicare costs for Parts A, B and D and a direct link to the Nursing Home Compare website which allows the reader the chance to see how a nursing home has been rated in comparisons to other nursing homes in that area. The state SHIP office can be reached by phone at 304-558-3317 or 877-987-4463.