The HealthWatch blog on the Hill web site is reporting that the Obama administration has released held-up grants to the volunteer programs that help seniors with Medicare questions. It is much better for seniors to use this free resource, typically "manned" by other seniors at the local senior center, than to depend on insurance brokers and others with a political or business axe to grind. Particularly, avoid rogue web sites that pretend to offer advice or opinion about Medicare but that are really selling insurance.
According to Hill, the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) said:
"The SHIPs provide quality Medicare information to beneficiaries at the local level and help ensure that unbiased one-on-one counseling is provided to those needing access to health insurance and prescription drug coverage.”
I cannot find a specific press release about the grants from CMS itself but another government web site says there are about 25,000 volunteers around the United States working in the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) program (called SHINE in Massachusetts and Florida and by various other names in other states). They offer one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their caregivers. Through CMS funded grants directed to states, the SHIP volunteers get up-to-date information on the constantly changing Medicare program, training, and are certified to give the free advice.
Of course, the volunteers themselves do not get any of the money.