COLUMBUS — The state’s designated program to help people understand Medicare and provide enrollment assistance surpassed its record for the amount of money it annually saves Ohioans, Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor said.
The Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) saved Ohioans a new program record of $18 million in 2014 assisting more than 193,000 Ohioans to improve upon last year’s mark of $16.4 million. The new figure includes an impressive $9.8 million saved during the recent Medicare annual open enrollment period for people to select coverage for this year.
“We have expert staff that understand Medicare and work with Ohioans to select the best coverage to meet their needs,” Taylor said. “I can’t stress how important it is that Ohioans take advantage of the free and educational services provided by OSHIIP while annually reviewing their coverage.”
Taylor added that Ohioans are able to realize savings because OSHIIP helped them understand their coverage options as they reviewed plans for 2015. OSHIIP can also assist people in determining if they qualify for financial assistance.
OSHIIP maintains a significant statewide community outreach presence in every Ohio county through a dedicated network of volunteers and partner organizations, having held 1,641 events in 2014. These activities include the popular Medicare Check-up Days held during annual open enrollment and Welcome to Medicare events each spring.
Over the last several years OSHIIP has incorporated technological enhancements to better track its interactions with consumers. The program is also more aggressive in providing educational information and counseling opportunities. As a result, OSHIIP’s overall performance score has moved ahead of 40 other SHIP programs to rank 14th, according to federal government data.
In April, OSHIIP will begin its annual Welcome to Medicare events to help new and soon-to-be beneficiaries understand the basics of Medicare.
Ohioans with Medicare questions can call OSHIIP at 800-686-1578. Medicare information, such as consumer guides, tips sheets, premium information, interactive webinars, and more, are available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can follow OSHIIP on Facebook.