Free, Objective, Expert Medicare Counseling
APPRISE is Pennsylvania’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). The Pennsylvania Department of Aging created APPRISE to help Pennsylvania residents understand their Medicare and other health insurance benefits, and assist citizens in making informed decisions about their health care options. APPRISE works individually and confidentially with clients to determine their individual health care needs and preferences, compare health insurance options, plan ahead for long term living, and obtain Medicare and supplemental coverage that fits their lifestyle and their budget.
In Allegheny County, the APPRISE program is operated by Family Services of Western Pennsylvania in partnership with the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging.
APPRISE counselors offer customized one-on-one assistance on the following topics:
- Help beneficiaries, family caregivers, and Aging network professionals understand Medicare and its covered health services
- Review the guidelines for Medicare eligibility and enrollment, and forecast an individual’s expected annual expenses for premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and prescriptions
- Explain how Medigap supplemental insurance, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug benefits work together with "original" Medicare (Parts A & B) to help cover health care costs
- Help beneficiaries understand and navigate the Medicare appeals process
Extra Help with Prescriptions and other Medicare Expenses
APPRISE counselors conduct a benefits checkup for clients to determine if someone might be eligible for additional benefit programs that would reduce their out-of-pocket expenses for prescription co-pays, monthly premiums, and annual deductibles. APPRISE also helps individuals complete applications for these programs:
- “Extra Help”/Low Income Subsidy – lowers Part D prescription drug plan costs
- PACE/PACENET – Pennsylvania’s State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
- Medicare Savings Program - (reduces Medicare Part B premiums)
- Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD)