Monday, April 16, 2018

SHIBA volunteers provide exceptional customer service to Medicare clients

April marks National Volunteer Month and our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program recognizes the more than 400 people statewide who selflessly volunteer their time to help people navigate Medicare. They’re an integral part of the consumer protection work we do here at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
SHIBA volunteers assist people at a Spokane outreach event 
During 2017, SHIBA volunteers:

  • Assisted more than 87,000 Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers with one-on-one counseling in person and over the phone to help them:
    • Evaluate their insurance needs. 
    • Choose a Medicare plan.
    • Choose a Medicare supplement plan. 
    • Review long-term care options.
    • Apply for low-income subsidies (to help pay for prescription drugs) and Medicare Savings Plans (to help pay Medicare Part A and B premiums, copays and deductibles).
  • Educated more than 108,000 people about Medicare.
  • Held more than 3,300 outreach events statewide.
Last year, our volunteers donated 95,568 hours of their time to help Medicare consumers in our state. At a national average volunteer rate of $24.14 per hour, this amounts to approximately $2.3 million in valuable donated time and effort.

A big thanks to all of our SHIBA volunteers--not just this month, but all year long–for their hard work, dedication, compassion, commitment, patience and humility.

Read more about SHIBA services, where to find help in your area and how you too can become a SHIBA volunteer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

It’s never too soon to start planning for retirement

Did you know that 2 million workers in Washington state don't have access to a retirement plan at work? Studies show that it's best to save for your retirement as early as possible. Even a few dollars a month can make a big difference 20, 30, or 40 years down the road.

Washington state residents at any stage of life can look for a retirement plan at the state’s new retirement marketplace. Small businesses and individuals can find a low-cost plan that will help them save for retirement.

Not sure how much you should save each month? The National Retirement Planning Coalition can help you calculate what you need to save based on what stage of life you are in at The site features life-stage specific resources and tools to assist Americans achieve their long-term financial goals.

Other resources from the insurance commissioner: