Page Reviewed / Updated – July 19, 2022

SHIP Definition

SHIPs, or State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, are not a source of funding for eldercare. SHIPs are free counseling services that help seniors understand their Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Insurance) and Medicaid benefits. Anyone with Medicare related questions is free to call a SHIP’s counselor even if they are not currently enrolled in Medicare.

Staffed by volunteers, these programs provide seniors with one-one-one counseling to help them take full advantage of available benefits. All states have a toll-free telephone number. Although often they cannot accommodate the volume of callers they receive. In these cases, they will call you back or allow you to schedule an appointment. Some states also offer face-to-face appointments, usually at the local Area Agency on Aging office.

Note that some states use abbreviations other than “SHIP.”  Others include SHIIP, SHINE, HICAP, and SHIBA. Also be aware that this program was formerly called the Information Counseling and Assistance (ICA) Grants Program.

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State by State Guide

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.