Trident Area Agency on Aging is a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization that’s mission is to promote and support the health and wellness of current and future generations of older adults in their communities.
As a private, non-governmental organization, the organization receives grants and donations to fund its services and has been serving the needs of seniors and family caregivers since 1991. They advocate for residents in long-term care facilities, provide support for caregivers, and provide information and referrals for the needs of seniors.
One program that the Trident Area Agency on Aging provides to the public is the SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) program. The SHIP program, managed by Medicare ACL’s Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling (OHIC), establishes community-based networks of counselors who provide Medicare-related assistance in-person, by phone, through media, and more to educate people about Medicare.
SHIPs often contract with local community agencies, such as Trident Area Agency on Aging, to provide SHIP services. This program offers one-on-one assistance, counseling, and education to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to help them make informed decisions about their care and benefits.
SHIP was created under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, and there are now 54 SHIP grantees (one in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
In each state, there’s a group of people that are designated by SHIP to educate beneficiaries on Medicare coverage, how it can coincide with Medicaid, benefits, cost, issues with billing, etc. Beneficiaries can call these designated people, and they will walk the seniors through any issues or questions they may have about their plan and coverage. SHIP recruits and trains both volunteer and in-kind team members to provide program services.
Trident Area Agency on Aging staff member Angela Edwards assists her community by providing information and assistance through the SHIP program. She says, “SHIP was designed to be an educational tool in the local area. Medicare can’t deal with millions of beneficiaries who have questions, and seniors need to understand the different parts of Medicare.”
The SHIP program allows for beneficiaries to have an accessible point of contact at a local level. With so many facets of information about Medicare and senior health insurance in general, SHIP staff and volunteers can get the word out and educate seniors on what benefits they’re entitled to.
Angela says, “One of my favorite parts of my job is when I get a call from a Medicare beneficiary, and they need assistance with medication cost. There are still beneficiaries that do not know about the Low-income Subsidy Program and how it helps to lower medication costs. I explain the benefits of applying for the low-income subsidy and complete the application online for them. When they call me back, excited and approved for the extra help, their cost of medications can go from thousands to hundreds annually. I love helping someone be able to afford their necessary medication.”
Trident Area Agency on Aging strives to help the senior community save money and enjoy life in their retirement age, and the SHIP program provides the information and resources to do so.
Contact Trident Area Agency on Aging for more information at (843) 554-2275 or visit www.tridentaaa.org.