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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2001

Governor Announces Effort to Promote Insurance Counseling Program for Seniors

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan has proclaimed September 10-14, 2001, SHIP Week in Illinois to increase public awareness about the state's free insurance counseling program for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

"The Senior Health Insurance Program has become a cornerstone of Illinois' efforts to assist its Medicare population," Governor Ryan said. "The primary reason for our success is the hard work and dedication of over 800 volunteers who contribute countless hours to this important counseling program.

"SHIP Week offers communities around the state an opportunity to showcase their local sponsoring organizations and the men and women who make the program possible."

The Illinois Department of Insurance trains volunteers to assist Illinois citizens who have problems with and questions about Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance, Medicare HMOs, long term care and other types of health care insurance. In 2000, SHIP counselors contributed over 20,500 volunteer hours in more than 21,000 counseling sessions and saved Illinois consumers over $1.4 million.

SHIP offices are affiliated with community organizations in 102 Illinois counties. Many communities have planned special SHIP Week activities ranging from free health care screening and expanded counseling hours to information booths in malls and grocery stores. For more information on SHIP or to access the free counseling services, call 1-800-548-9034.


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