What is SHIP?

Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a free counseling service provided by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Insurance.

  • SHIP does NOT sell or solicit insurance.
  • SHIP is NOT an insurance plan.
  • SHIP trains volunteer counselors throughout the State of Illinois to provide one-on-one help with your insurance.

SHIP counselors can answer questions about:

  • Medicare
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, PPOs, and PFFs
  • Prescription Drug Coverage through Medicare and other sources
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Medicare Claims and Appeals
  • Medicare Beneficiary Rights and Guarantees

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older and for people with disabilities under the age of 65. Medicare has four parts: Hospital insurance (Part A), Medical Insurance (Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D).

Eligibility for Medicare:

  1. An individual aged 65 years or older and eligible for benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement System, or a federal, state or local government employee insured on his/her own record or that of a spouse.
  2. An individual who has been receiving disability benefits under Social Security or the Railroad Retirement System for 24 months or more.
  3. Persons of any age who are receiving regular dialysis or have received a kidney transplant due to kidney failure.
  4. Persons of any age who have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
  5. A person 65 or over who is not eligible for Social Security benefits may purchase Medicare coverage.

What does Medicare cost?

For those who are eligible, there is no cost for Part A. There are additional deductibles and co-payment for medical services. The cost for Part C varies from plan to plan.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a state managed medical assistance program that is funded by both state and federal monies. Medicaid can provide eligible low-income families and seniors with coverage for a variety of medical services.

Eligibility for Medicaid:

  • You may qualify for medical benefits if you:
    • You are a U.S. citizen or meet certain non-citizen requirements.
    • You are an Illinois resident; and
    • You meet other program requirements.

If you need further assistance with healthcare benefit services, please contact the Center.