Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Want to help others figure out the ins-and-outs of their Medicare coverage? Talk about doing a real service!

Amava Take: The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP or SHIIP) is a federally funded state program that provides free, local, one-on-one and sometimes face-to-face Medicare and health insurance counseling to Medicare Seniors. SHIP may have many different acronyms such as SHIIP, SHINE, HICAP, SHIBA, SHICK, but they all provide the same service. Anyone who is eligible for Medicare is eligible for free counseling. And that’s where you come in. Volunteers are needed to make it all work. Extensive training is provided and volunteers help clients understand Medicare, including supplemental and drug insurance, Medicare health plans and long-term care coverage. 

From the Front Lines: 

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions? 

Smart, friendly, detail-driven people who want to help others.

What’s the time commitment like?

As an example, anywhere between 3-4 hours a month to 3-4 hours a week. But it can depend on which state you live in. 

What’s the training like?

It can vary some, but generally volunteers complete 30-40 hours of classroom training and up to 20 hours of shadowing.

From the Trenches:  

What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?

Helping someone figure out the answers to questions about Medicare that are causing stress. Sometimes that means saving people money.

How would you describe the hard parts?

This stuff is complicated no matter how much you’ve been trained!

What surprised you the most about the experience?

I learned something new with every client.

Special Requirements: Requirements vary by state, but training is always required.

Related Classes: Keys to Effective Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Skills for Making Great Decisions, Helping Elderly Parents

Finding a Position: The best way to get started is to learn about the program in your state. To volunteer for SHIP, select your state after clicking the “Find Local Medicare Help” button in the top right and call or follow the state-specific links.