MOUNT PLEASANT – The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) uses volunteers to help clients understand and navigate through their Medicare options. When people make informed decisions, they very often save money. In 2018, SHIIP counselors in Henry County saved their clients nearly $400,000! It is extremely gratifying to be able to make such a clearly measurable difference in people’s lives.
But here in Henry County, our client base keeps growing as we continue reaching out to the ranks of current and soon-to-be Medicare enrollees. Henry County SHIIP is in need of two more volunteers to help us provide this much needed service to our community! Could you be a SHIIP volunteer?
The training for volunteers is rigorous but thorough. There are online modules, a 3-day onsite training in Des Moines, and working with an established counselor for several sessions before earning SHIIP volunteer certification. In addition, there are update trainings (in person and online) during the year for all counselors. The support staff in the SHIIP Office in Des Moines is always available to answer questions that may arise when working with clients.
There is definitely a time commitment, particularly in the fall during the open enrollment period for Medicare drug plans. In Henry County we would need a volunteer to commit the equivalent of two days per week during that period. The rest of the year, the demand is much lighter and volunteers work at their convenience.
It sounds like a lot of time and effort, and it is. But “being a SHIIP volunteer is one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life,” says Liz Wasson. “People come in anxious and worried about their situation, and they leave feeling relieved and grateful for the assistance,” adds Sally Fager, another volunteer. “It’s the best volunteer job you could possibly want,” they both attest.
The deadline for the SHIIP Office to receive applications is May 13. Online modules begin June 18, and in-person training is July 30 – August 1 in Des Moines. For more information or to get an application package, contact the Henry County SHIIP Office (385-6774) or Kirsten Heerdt (385-6524) at HCHC.