SHIBA Helps You Find Answers to Medicare and Health Care Coverage Questions

Click on the photo above to watch a video made by volunteers
on the SHIBA Helpline.

Need help finding access to Medicare plans, health insurance, health care programs, or prescription drugs? Call or meet with a Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) counselor!

SHIBA is a free, unbiased, and confidential counseling service of the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Its statewide network of trained volunteers educate consumers of all ages about their rights and options, and offers current information on private health insurance, public health care programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid), prescription drug programs, fraud and abuse, and more.

SHIBA can help you answer your questions, make referrals, and help you evaluate and compare health plans. In addition to counseling service, SHIBA offers free public workshops to people of all ages and backgrounds across the state. Many people receive help and cost savings they didn’t even know were possible.

Here are a few examples:

  • Client 1 came to SHIBA confused and worried, with medical bills piled high. After working with a SHIBA counselor, he not only found a very low-cost Medicare plan but also found out he was eligible for Extra Help with prescription drug costs and assistance in paying his Medicare Part B premium. The counselor helped the client complete and submit an application. He can expect to save over $2,000 in a year.
  • Client 2 came to SHIBA just as she was approaching her 65th birthday. She was overwhelmed by the amount of information available about different Medicare plans and programs. After meeting with a SHIBA counselor at one of the SHIBA community sites within King County, the client was able to comb through all of the paperwork and find the best plan that fit her current lifestyle and budget.
  • Client 3 came to SHIBA to file an appeal. The counselor worked step-by-step with her to create a case, and her appeal was approved. The client saved hundreds of dollars.

SHIBA counselors will work to find the best option for you. Get the help you need today—call the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 or the King County SHIBA office at 206-727-6221. It's free!

To learn how to become a SHIBA volunteer, visit the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) webpage or e-mail

Contributor Camille Gabriel is the Senior Rights Assistance and SHIBA program coordinator at Senior Services, which has empowered individuals of all ages to utilize their legal and consumer rights since 1977.

Health Care Insurance: The Times They Are A'changin'!

The Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services invites you to attend a forum on health care insurance on Friday, August 9, 2013 at the Kent Senior Activity Center (600 E Smith St, Kent). The forum features:

  • Liz Mercer, Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), who will answer some of the public’s most common questions: How do you choose a health plan? How might the Affordable Care Act affect you? How can you access free, unbiased and confidential assistance with Medicare and health care choices?
  • State Senator Karen Keiser and State Representative Dave Upthegrove, who will discuss recent legislative action related to health care coverage and other health care priorities.

Sign-in starts at 11:00 a.m. outside the meeting room. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. and lunch is provided. The forum runs from 12:00–1:15 p.m.

Note: Space is limited so tickets are required, and there is a small charge to cover lunch costs. The first 80 tickets cost $2 each—limit 2 per person. After 80, tickets cost $6 each (no limit—must purchase by Friday, August 2, for guaranteed seating.) For tickets, call 253-856-5150.