SHIP - Health Insurance Counseling Program

Health Insurance Questions? We can help

Choices for health insurance are many, and the issues can often be confusing.

That is why the Minnesota Board on Aging certifies a team of volunteers. Their job? Help seniors make informed choices about insurance.

What is it?

The service is called the Minnesota State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). It is a network of local programs that provide information, counseling and assistance to all Medicare eligible persons across the state. SHIP was formed in Minnesota in 1993, as a result of an initiative of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS).

Who is eligible?

If you are eligible for Medicare, you are eligible for SHIP. Anyone with questions about Medicare can find answers through SHIP.

Who are the counselors?

The program is served primarily by volunteers who are certified by the Minnesota Board on Aging. These counselors receive extensive training, and provide objective, confidential assistance. They are not connected with any insurance company, and cannot give specific advice.

Is it confidential?

Yes.  All information collected from any person who has questions remains confidential and is only used to assist in providing answers.                           

Where do I have to go?

Counselors can work with you in your home, or you may visit them in their offices. Check with the Senior LinkAge Line® to find the office closest to you.

What assistance can the program offer?

At no-cost, the program will:

  • explain Medicare,
  • review Medical Assistance,
  • compare supplemental insurance options and public programs,
  • explain long-term care insurance,
  • outline public programs,
  • help you complete billing and claims and appeals,
  • help you understand and track medical bills and forms, and
  • provide you with materials on related topics.

The program works closely with the various healthcare resources, such as the Social Security Administration, Minnesota Department of Health, Department of Commerce, and Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Call the Senior LinkAge Line®

To find the Health Insurance Counseling Program in your community contact the Senior LinkAge Line®. You can reach the Senior LinkAge Line® by calling 1-800-333-2433, by email at, or visit®.


Medicare Choices

The Medicare-Choices email list is designed to help health insurance counselors, volunteers, attorneys, providers, consumers or other interested parties find resources, receive up-to-date information about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Medical Assistance, Minnesota Long-term Care Partnership or other related public or private benefits.

This one-way email communication is a project of the Minnesota Board on Aging and the Senior LinkAge Line® which is also the Minnesota State Health Insurance Assistance Program for Minnesota (SHIP). This email service is informally moderated by staff at the Minnesota Board on Aging.

Subscribe to the Medicare Choices one-way email communication list.


Medicare Info

The most significant change to the Medicare program, since its enactment in 1965, began on Jan. 1, 2006. Medicare now has a prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D). In the fall of each year, all Minnesotans with Medicare receive information about the Medicare Part D program and the Annual Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Agencies, organizations and people that work with Minnesotans with Medicare will want to be kept apprised of the latest Part D information and its effect on Minnesotans with Medicare.

To facilitate the exchange of the most current information, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging established an informational email list to subscribe to in order to receive the most accurate, up to date news about Medicare Part D Minnesota and other related Medicare topics.

Subscribe to the Medicare Info one-way email communication list.