Minnesota seniors may soon lose their ability to receive individualized, objective counseling to help make complex decisions about Medicare Part A, B, C & D.

Currently, the Trump Administration’s proposed budget does not provide additional funding for State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP. The Minnesota Board on Aging’s statewide Senior
LinkAge Line is funded through SHIP.

Every year, the Senior LinkAge Line staff provides hundreds of hours of complex case work. Unless Congress acts by the end of 2018, the Medicare cost plans will end as required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). That means more than 386,000 Minnesota Medicare beneficiaries will need to make essential decisions about Medicare benefits and supplementary coverage themselves beginning January 1, 2019.

Loss, decrease or delay in federal funding for the SHIP will force dramatic changes to the Senior LinkAge Line service while decreasing the availability of Medicare expertise statewide. LinkAge Line policy analyst Stephanie Minor visited KARE 11 News at 11 Tuesday to advise KARE 11 viewers on the potential cutbacks. She urged concerned seniors and their families to contact state representatives to help increase funding.