Press Releases


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today $1.5 million in performance awards released to support local agencies that assist people with Medicare and their caregivers.  State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) that have provided outstanding counseling services to Medicare beneficiaries through innovative outreach efforts received the awards. Additionally, awardees reached and provided enrollment assistance to people eligible for Medicare benefits, but not currently receiving benefits. 

“CMS is proud to recognize the SHIP network as a highly valued, trusted and unbiased source of Medicare and health plan information for Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers across the nation,” says Donald Berwick, M.D., administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The SHIP Performance Awards were awarded to eligible SHIPs from the 54 states and U.S. territories, following the Basic Grant Award funding that was released to SHIPs in April 2011.   Eligibility for a performance award is based on timely submission of data into CMS’ SHIP National Performance Reporting (NPR) system for the period July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, and attainment of certain performance levels.

SHIP services are provided at the community level and offer information, counseling, and enrollment assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, beyond what they might receive on their own through the other CMS information channels, including 1-800-MEDICARE and

“CMS is pleased to reward SHIPs with these funds for their implementation of CMS grants program objectives and delivery of services to Medicare beneficiaries in innovative ways,” said Teresa Niño, Director of the CMS Office of Public Engagement.  “SHIPs have created model approaches to increase enrollment and awareness about changes in Medicare benefits and services, including preventive benefits.”

This additional funding will help to ensure that the community networks remain fully capable of accessing and using CMS’ 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and regional office resources, as well as the online tools at and to provide assistance to beneficiaries.

“SHIPs are critically important, especially this year with the change of dates for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period to October 15, 2011, through December 7, 2011,” said Niño. “CMS is hopeful that these funds will help SHIPs increase their outreach efforts and increase awareness to the change in the dates to ensure that beneficiaries receive the counseling services routinely available to them.”