Seeking volunteers for Medicare counseling program
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Seeking volunteers for Medicare counseling program

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides free help to Essex County Medicare beneficiaries who have problems with their health insurance, or questions about it. It’s looking for volunteers to help with that mission.

SHIP, a statewide program administered in Essex County by Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ and RSVP, an AmeriCorps Seniors program that connects volunteers ages 55+ with opportunities to serve in their communities, is funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services with financial assistance through a grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare can be hard to navigate, so volunteer SHIP counselors are trained to help; they can provide information on such subjects as Medigap plans, Part D coverage, claims, and benefits. Volunteers also answer questions about Medicaid and low-income assistance programs.

Volunteer counselors do not give legal advice, sell, recommend, and/or endorse any specific insurance product, agent, insurance company or plan. Volunteers cannot hold an active license to sell insurance.

The program specifically needs volunteers who are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers must agree to a 40-hour virtual training program and commit to working a minimum of four hours per week for at least one year. The next online training, which will be on Zoom, will be held in March, on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The program’s main office is in Florham Park; volunteers provide counsel at community sites, including libraries and community centers. During the pandemic, services also are provided by phone and Zoom.

For information, email Brittany Bynum at bbynum@jfsmetrowest.org or call (973) 637-1717.

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