SHIP Q&A: Different programs can help with Medicare billing problems

2014-06-17T23:45:00Z SHIP Q&A: Different programs can help with Medicare billing problems The Billings Gazette
June 17, 2014 11:45 pm

Q. I have heard there are programs that will help me if I’m having trouble with my Medicare billing. How do I get some help?

A. There are two programs that can help you with Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, Medicaid and Medicare Drug Plan problems.

The first is called State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). This is a national program where each state provides information and assistance counselors for Medicare and Medicaid clients. A SHIP counselor can help enroll you in a Medicare D plan. They can help clients with billing questions for Medicare and Medicare insurances. They can explain Medicaid services and help you apply for those services. SHIP assistance has no fees. To find a SHIP counselor call your local Area Agency on Aging at 800-551-3191 or in Yellowstone County call 259-5212.

The second is the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), a program funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, which helps Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members and caregivers to actively protect themselves against health care fraud, waste and abuse. This program is primarily provided by specially trained volunteers.

The program volunteers show beneficiaries how to review their Medicare Summary Notices to detect and report suspected errors. The Office of the Inspector General estimates that the SMP Program and its volunteers help identify billions of dollars each year in wasted Medicare dollars. If you are interested in volunteering for this program please contact your local Agency on Aging at 800-551-3191 or in Yellowstone County you can call 259-5212.

Send questions about Medicare or Medicaid to: SHIP Program c/o Adult Resource Alliance, 1505 Ave. D, Billings, MT 59102 or

Questions will be answered by the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program, an objective, nonprofit counseling, assistance and advocacy service sponsored by DPHHS of Montana and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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