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[IP] Re: help with Medicare issues

I just want to point out that there is a program nationwide called SHIP (in 
California it's called HICAP) which offers free counseling and assistance with 
Medicare and related insurance issues. I just became a registered counselor in 
 California. We help explain and evaluate the various options with Medigaps,
D plans and Medicare Advantage plans, as well as assist with issues related to 
bills, claims and appeals. The phone number should be on the back of your 
 Medicare and You book or you can go to www.medicare.gov or else just Google
 in your state. It's different state by state so counselors who are registered
one state can't really give advice about how it works in another state, and as 
someone pointed out even the requirements for Medicare Advantage Plans differ 
region by region even within a state. I believe SHIP stands for State Health 
Insurance Program. HICAP stands for Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy 
 Program. It is so complex and there is so much to know that it requires a lot
initial and ongoing training to be a counselor. I'm new so I don't know a lot 
yet but there are always experienced counselors and staff to turn to for 
 assistance. Even if you get a new counselor in your area they can get help from
someone more experienced and get the answers for you. I encourage everyone who 
is on Medicare or about to be on Medicare to use this resource. Pam
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