WASHINGTON The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that about $36 million will be distributed to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs in 2008, according to published reports. SHIPs are state based programs that use community-based networks to provide Medicare beneficiaries with local, personalized assistance on a wide variety of Medicare and health insurance topics.
The nearly $36 million being distributed to the SHIPs today is the first installment of more than $50 million that will be provided to the SHIPs in 2008. This $20 million increase in funding over fiscal year 2007 reflects more than $39 million in regular SHIP grants, performance-based grants to be awarded in September, and SHIP support, as well as an additional $15 million in supplemental funding that will be distributed on June 1.
“State Health Insurance Assistance Programs fill an important role in providing information and support to people with Medicare in their communities across the nation,” said CMS acting administrator Kerry Weems. “In addition to helping answer beneficiaries’ questions about Medicare, this year’s funding should further the SHIPs’ efforts to help us reach those people who are most likely eligible for Medicare’s low-income-subsidy and then help them apply for the extra help.”