HealthLinc strives to improve the communities it serves by expanding access to exceptional health care and creating paths to patient care through its many programs and services, including their SHIP Program. The SHIP Program, or State Health Insurance Assistance Program, is a no-cost service designed to assist with navigating Medicare. The program helps individuals and their families through the education and counseling of Medicare while being the consumer’s advocate.
“We believe that by bringing SHIP counseling to our clinic, we will be able to provide a service to our communities that is much needed and can be a disparity in some regions,” said Katherine Sullivan, Outreach and Enrollment Manager and former Assistant Site Operations Director at HealthLinc’s Valparaiso clinic.
COVID-19 has created more barriers for consumers, making it even more important for HealthLinc to add this additional service for their communities. While some counselors have put restrictions on their appointments including virtual or over the phone appointments only, HealthLinc is one of the few locations that is allowing in-person, virtual, or over the phone appointments.
Before starting with SHIP, there was only one Spanish speaking SHIP counselor throughout the entire state. HealthLinc currently has two Spanish speaking SHIP counselors and by the end of the month will add two more, expanding their ability to serve their diverse communities.
“We want to limit as many barriers as possible for our consumers while still following all CDC guidelines, including requiring social distancing and mandating facial coverings and masks,” Sullivan said.
The SHIP program and its services allows HealthLinc to better serve the underserved populations that are Medicare beneficiaries. Counselors meet one-on-one with each consumer to make sure they understand their coverage and answer any questions that the consumer may have.
“This allows us the opportunity to make sure that each individual is taken care of with in-depth and unbiased assistance,” Sullivan said.
The HealthLinc team is comprised of a dedicated group of individuals that go above and beyond to ensure all customers’ needs are met, a mission they will continue to uphold with the implementation of the SHIP Program.
“The entire HealthLinc outreach team are licensed navigators for Indiana Medicaid as well as Certified Application Counselors through the Federal Marketplace,” Sullivan said. “We have bilingual staff as well, and all assistance is at no cost.”
To learn more about SHIP, contact a HealthLinc outreach team member by calling 888-580-1060 Ext. 4405. Leave your name, number, and a brief message so that staff can connect you with a counselor in your area.
The state phone number is 1-800-452-4800 and 866-846-0139 for the hearing impaired.