Do you know how difficult it can be for someone who is on Medicare to figure out all the ins and outs of it? There is original Medicare, with the option of purchasing a supplement to your Medicare; there are Medicare Advantage plans that can be “substituted” for Medicare; there is Medicare Part D that will cover a portion of your prescription drugs; there are penalties involved if you miss a deadline, and the confusion goes on and on. It was out of all this confusion that the idea was born within the NC Department of Insurance about 30 years ago, for a SENIOR HEALTH INSURANCE INFORMATION PROGRAM….SHIIP for short!

Each County has trained counselors who work one-on-one with Medicare beneficiaries to help clear up the confusion by showing them their options and explaining how each option works. We know we have a great SHIIP program in Granville County. Our trainer from the SHIIP office in Raleigh has told us for quite some time just how special he thinks our program is. We have a group of counselors who are knowledgeable, dedicated, and the number of people we serve through this program is astounding….usually around 700 per year!

Our SHIIP staff frequently “high five” and congratulate each other on jobs well done. It is a joy for us to help people out of a dilemma, help save them hundreds or thousands of dollars each year, even go to bat for someone who doesn’t have the understanding to “bat” for themselves.  Even so, it was a complete surprise when Granville County Coordinators Carolyn Keith and Kathy May went to the annual SHIIP conference in Greensboro in August, 2016, and accepted the award from Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Goodwin, naming Granville County the “County of the Year” for the Northeast Region for 2016. We could not have been more excited! Let me explain the significance of this award. The Northeast Region consists of 25 counties, including Wake, Durham and Orange…..all counties that are much larger than us and who have numerous counselors. But the thing that perhaps surprised us the most was that we had just won this award 4 years ago! So this is not one of those things that just goes to a different county each year until everyone gets it. It is judged on performance, professionalism, and results.

Are we proud?? You betcha!! Because we know we are giving the citizens of Granville County the high quality service they deserve. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!!

-Kathy May, Director of Senior Services

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