DCBS Media Release
January 10, 1997
Senior health insurance help to continue
(Salem) A program that helps seniors navigate the sometimes confusing world of Medicare and related health insurance benefits will continue in 1997, thanks to a grant made to the State of Oregon by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The state's Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program now heads into its fifth year with a grant for $146,523.
SHIBA uses a network of about 200 trained volunteers in 34 Oregon counties to provide seniors with insurance information, one-on-one counseling, assistance, and referrals. The program aims to help Medicare beneficiaries make better health insurance decisions. SHIBA provides:
Many Oregon seniors have too much or inappropriate health insurance. Others don't get all their medical claims paid because the paperwork is overwhelming. Many Medicare beneficiaries pay too much out of their own pockets and don't participate in programs that may help them. The SHIBA program is designed to help Oregon's seniors avoid these pitfalls and use the benefits to which they are entitled.
Working with the state's insurance consumer advocate, SHIBA staff also help identify gaps in insurance laws and regulations that relate to coverage for seniors, and help communicate those problems to policy and lawmakers. The program operates within the state Insurance Division, a part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.
The SHIBA program received more than 10,000 inquiries last year.