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Senior Health Insurance Counseling Service Available at Morris Hospital

Senior Health Insurance Counseling Service Available at Morris Hospital
September 28, 2021 Janet Long

PLEASE NOTE: We regret that all appointments with the volunteer SHIP counselor sponsored through Morris Hospital have been scheduled through the 2021 open enrollment period. No additional appointments can be scheduled. For assistance with open enrollment, please call the Medicare hotline at 800-633-4237.


September 27, 2021, MORRIS, IL – Volunteer counselors from the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) are available by telephone to provide free health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. Morris Hospital serves as the sponsor for the local SHIP volunteers.

A program of the Illinois Department of Aging, SHIP counselors are volunteers who are certified by Medicare to educate consumers and answer questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, prescription drug plans, and Advantage plans.  SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and the counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance.

This is an especially active time of year for the SHIP Program, with the open enrollment period running from October 15-December 7 for seniors and disabled persons who have a Medicare Drug Plan and Advantage Plan. The open enrollment period provides an opportunity to change plans without penalty.

“There are several reasons people may want to change their Medicare supplement or drug plan,” explains Mary Alcaraz, coordinator of the Morris Hospital based SHIP Program. “Maybe your current drug plan is going to be more expensive in the new year, or the existing plan will no longer cover certain medications next year. Sometimes people are not satisfied with the level of service provided with their existing plan, or they want a plan that offers mail order. There are all kinds of options to consider.”

“Medicare coverage and all the available options are somewhat complicated,” she adds. “We’re here to help people make educated decisions with regards to the various drug and supplemental programs that are available to seniors and disabled persons.”

According to Alcaraz, Morris Hospital SHIP is not certified to assist individuals under age 65 who are not currently on Medicare with obtaining medical coverage through the Illinois Marketplace. She recommends calling 1 (866) 311-1119 to enroll in the Illinois Marketplace offerings or to obtain other assistance, such as locating a local counselor.

Individuals interested in scheduling a phone consultation with a SHIP counselor should call Morris Hospital at 815-705-1063 to schedule an appointment.